Thousands of years ago, ancient Babylonians would make promises to the gods as the New Year came about. They would resolve to pay back debts and return borrowed item in hopes of finding favour with the gods.
Now, many of us continue on with a similar practice every January as we put forward our New Year’s resolutions. There are a few other areas throughout history that point to humans having similar intentions of starting the New Year off right, affirming they would do better and be better.
Rather than making promises to the gods, people now make promises to themselves, which is maybe a little less intimidating, and perhaps one of many reasons why so many resolutions fail.
But, self-improvement is always a worthy initiative, no matter what the date is, or whom you’re making promises to. While a specific New Year’s resolution may not be something I’ve ever fully committed myself to, I think the New Year offers a great opportunity to take a step back and look at where you are in life, and where you want to be.
Adopting healthier habits is usually on the top of the list for the most popular New Year’s resolutions. But, just like fad diets usually only work for a period of time, I think adopting healthier habits is a life-long goal that we should all adopt.
Following the Christmas and New Year’s feasts that fill up many of our schedules for about two weeks straight, January is a natural time to feel the need to eat more veggies and move our bodies. So, while it’s likely a great time to adopt these habits, if you find yourself falling back into old habits as the months roll by, there’s no reason to wait until January 2021 to start back up again. Rather, we need to remember to continue to work on ourselves, year round.
The same goes for the newly purchased gym membership, fitness classes, or home gym equipment. If the dust starts show in a few months, there’s plenty of opportunity to start over, ahead of 2021.
But, is self-improvement really just about fruits, vegetables and exercise? Obviously it’s not. I think a huge part of self-improvement, and something that can be just as challenging to accept as drinking eight glasses of water a day, is learning to accept who we are, and where we are in life.
I think the first step to improving any area of your life is to acknowledge where you are at the moment, without punishing yourself for where you’ve been in the past. I think we all have a lot to celebrate and recognize, as we make our way through life’s many ups and downs.
So, perhaps instead of focusing on clean eating and working out five days a week, a more realistic and beneficial resolution would be to smile more, live in the moment (which might mean putting the technology away more often), and simply be OK with who you are.