How to Avoid Those Pesky Resolutions
Every year I advise against New Year’s resolutions. They usually don’t work and just cause stress. You know the cycle: make a resolution, diligently strive to achieve the resolution, start to stress because you’re not achieving the resolution, forget about the resolution and return to what you did before. That entire cycle only takes about 60 days.
Instead of putting yourself through that, try developing a real plan and creating real goals that are carefully considered and regularly tracked. In fact, if you have a real planning cycle, you can enjoy the parties, parades, and football without worrying about making those resolutions that you aren’t going to keep anyway. That planning doesn’t have to happen on New Year’s Day, which, by the way, is really an arbitrary date anyway.
In 46 BC, Julius Caesar decided that the year should begin on January 1st and he created the Julian calendar which was used for centuries. The calendar used before his decree was complicated, inaccurate, and required constant adjustment to match the lunar and solar cycles.
Caesar wanted the year to begin on the winter equinox which is December 21st, but the senate already began their year on January 1st, so Caesar finally agreed to that date. In addition to greatly simplifying the calendar, Julius Caesar ended up starting the year at the beginning of the month named for the Roman god Janus. Janus was the Roman god of doors and is sometimes considered the god of beginnings so it was appropriate for the Romans to start their calendar year on the month named for him. Janus is depicted with two faces, one looking forward and one looking back.
Though I normally don’t appreciate two-faced people, Janus does provide a pretty good metaphor for the beginnings represented by the New Year. It’s valuable to look back on the last year, while also looking forward to the coming year. That seems to lend itself well to actual planning.
It’s believed that New Year’s resolutions began in ancient Babylon when people would make promises to the gods, a tradition which continued through Roman times. People made a good effort to accomplish those resolutions. After all, it wasn’t a good idea to disappoint the gods. Today, New Year’s resolutions have become little more than a parlor game. That’s why I urge you to make a plan instead of resolutions. Careful planning that yields realistic and achievable goals is much more effective.
So, drink your eggnog and enjoy the party. Then, if you don’t have a real plan with real goals pick a date, any date, and make one.
Happy New Year from The Daedalus Group.