Jan 9, 2012

History of the New Year’s Resolution

Reading: Whispers from the Dark by Maya Banks
Listening to: Disney tunes
Making me smile:
My very mobile little boy

Some people love them, some people hate them but come the 1st of January, many people feel compelled to set themselves some New Year’s Resolutions. I've set some for myself and (of course) many of them revolve around my writing!

It got me thinking…how did the New Year’s Resolution come about?

Turns out the tradition dates back to the Romans and the god, Janus. Janus was the god of beginnings and transitions and had two faces—one to look to the past and one to the future.

The Romans named the first month of the year after Janus. At the dawn of the new year, they believed Janus looked back on events of the old year and forward to events for the new year. They exchanged gifts for luck, often with images of Janus. (Image: Public Domain)

So, as you’re making your New Year’s resolutions, remember that it’s an age old tradition not a modern invention to drive us crazy! Good luck with your resolutions and I hope 2012 is a wonderful year for you.


  1. Anna, that's fascinating. I didn't make any resolutions this year, but maybe I'll make some belated ones so I can keep up the ancient tradition!

  2. Who knew the traditions of New Year resolutions had such a long history. I've made a few resolutions, and fingers crossed that I manage to keep them. Good luck with yours, Anna, and I'll second your hope that 2012 is a wonderful year for all!

  3. Wow, I had no idea that New Year's resolutions had such a rich history! Like usual, I'll be setting mine in February (if I start later, that's a month less time to break them!), but I've been thinking about it.

    Luckily, the thing I love best about resolutions is that, for me, they're never carved in stone. Who knows when I might like to change them!?

    Wishing you all the very best for 2012, Anna!

    E x

  4. This is really interesting, Anna... of course now I feel as though I shouldn't float a tradition of such long standing! ;)

    Actually I rather like Emmeline's idea of setting them in February rather than January... there's something very considered and deliberate about giving myself that month to percolate my resolutions. Much better than rashing rushing them through in time for new Year!

    Ahem... that's my story and I'm sticking to it!


  5. That should have been "flout", of course! Fingers too quick for brain!

  6. Hi Rach --
    I have to admit, I always thought resolutions were invented by diet pill sellers and gyms to capture people planning to lose weight as their resolution! Good luck with your belated resolutions.

  7. Hi Michelle --
    Best of luck with your 2012 resolutions. I've tried to keep mine simple -- I've only set 3 (mostly writing related!) So I hope that helps me succeed this year (-:

  8. Hey Em --
    I know why you set yours in Feb...your kids are back at school and you can hear yourself think again (-: I look forward to hearing what writing resolutions you've set for 2012!

  9. Hi Sharon --
    I thought float worked as well...I knew what you meant (-:

    And sure, I buy your reasoning for Feb! I think many a person probably sets some hasty resolutions on NY's eve...under the influence of one too many drinks.

  10. Anna, what an amazing tradition. Unfortunately it seems that mostof us make resolutions and then forget all about them.
    Do we make them too hard to stick to?

  11. I'm totally into NYRs this year! Starting the 12 week challenge on line with Michelle Bridges in a week. Read a book a week. Actually watch MORE TV lol. Must find a new great series. (Am thinking Dr Who although I know this isn't new...I'm always late with the trends!)
    Love the info on Janus, Anna. Happy New Year to you!

  12. Fascinating, Anna. Good luck with your resolutions. I'm more goal oriented myself as I find resolutions are more general.

  13. Hi Sue --
    I think some people do make them too hard, or too unrealistic. I think people get caught up in that sense of "anything is possible" at the beginning of the year and forget they'll have to also do some hard work!

  14. Hi Robyn --
    Wow, you sound organised! Good luck with those resolutions and Happy New Year to you too. Hmmm, Dr Who didn't do it for me. My all time fav sci-fi series was Battlestar Galactica...if you missed that, then you defintely have to check it out.

  15. Hi Eleni --
    I've seen how detailed your resolutions/goals are! I think when people make their resolutions too general it doesn't set them up for success. Good luck with your 2012 goals!

  16. I didn't realize that New Year's resolutions went back so far. I wonder if the breaking of them goes back that far as well. Knowing human nature it probably does. I haven't set resolutions for quite a while as I set myself up for failure usually. I do try and look back over the past year and pick out the good points of the year. Some years are better then others and 2011 wasn't the best for me or the world but there were still great things to think about. I'm hoping that nature is kinder to the world this year. We have already had a much milder winter here than last year so I'm happy for that.

  17. Hi Kaelee --
    I'm sure breaking them goes that far as well! I hope you have a wonderful, kinder 2012.