Abhijnan Pritam Sarma

We often wait for the New Year to start something new – be it a venture, a fitness routine, a book that we always wanted to read, or maybe even write, etc. Yes, people can start an endeavour at any time they want, but a majority of the people like to start fresh. This is why, sometimes, a brand new year can be the best time to start any project which someone might have had in their mind for a long time.

Making New Year resolutions is not a new tradition. It is believed that around 4,000 years ago, the ancient Babylonians followed the tradition of making New Year resolutions. The citizens of Babylon celebrated the arrival of a new year for 12 days. Among the customs they followed, planting crops was a major one, which meant that it was the start of the sowing season. Most important of all customs conducted during this time, making promises to the gods to pay their debts and return any borrowed items was a prominent one. The people believed that if they kept their word, god would favour them in the New Year. This was the start of the tradition of making a resolution during this time of the year.

Looking at history books, we can observe similar traditions being conducted in Rome. During the time of Julius Caesar, they introduced a new calendar in 46 BC. This announced January 1 as the start of the New Year. The Romans also made promises in the name of god, but they were different in the sense that they offered sacrifices to God Janus, promising to maintain good behaviour throughout the year. Basically, what both the Babylonians and the Romans did was to stay honest to their promises, which, in turn, led to their desired targets or outcomes.

In contrast to the New Year resolutions taken by people of the ancient era, resolutions today are quite different in nature. Most people like to make New Year resolutions which will improve them in a way. Resolutions range from quitting smoking, to starting a fitness regime, eating healthy, saving more money, etc. One of the reasons why New Year resolutions are popular is because it gives people a push to start something new. A new year brings new energy that revitalises people to undertake new adventures.

Different fears and doubts mar a human being’s mind. These doubts can be barriers and can stop people from starting their dream project. What a brand new year does is very simple – it manages to erase all the bad experiences from the year gone by. People learn from whatever they experience in the past year. They take the sum total of their good and bad experiences, and make a fruitful resolution to make a better version of themselves in the brand new year. Probably, the most meaningful thing one can do is to learn and improve. Anyone who is constantly trying to improve, taking the necessary decision to change, and beginning to work on the plan is meant to be ahead of anyone who is failing to start. For people out there with resolutions for the New Year, the best time to start is now!

([email protected])