The first person to make a new years resolution also commanded the Continental Army during the American Revolution and presided over the convention that drafted the U.S. Constitution, none other than the first president of the United States of America, George Washington. According to the myth, on January 1st, 1780, the general stated that a “new dawn breaks, with liberty to all citizens in these United States”.
You may be asking yourself…Really! America did it again, we created new years resolutions. Consequently, this is all a lie.
The ancient Babylonians are said to have been the first civilizations that made New Year’s resolutions, some 4,000 years ago. They were also the first people that held recorded celebrations to honor the incoming new year. But for them, the year began in mid-March, when the crops were planted, not January. This shift to marking the new year in the darkest and cloudiest months of Massachusetts came in 45 B.C. Shortly after becoming Roman dictator, Julius Caesar decided that the traditional calendar needed reform, making the new year begin on January 1st, to honor the god Janus. I personally wonder if this was a good call, as I question any decision made by someone who was stabbed repeatedly in the back. Nonetheless, I find merit in self-improvement, after all, these are the only selves we get. If people decide to set goals according to a calendar made by an impaled predecessor, so be it, goals are goals.
We Asked Frontier: What are your New Year’s Resolutions?
- “Stay healthier and have my family members stay healthy.”
- Wake up earlier
- Use my phone less
- “I don’t have any. I’m going 100% all day all of the time baby”
- Get over my past relationship
- Drink more water
- “To Go to college”
However, a large majority of those asked if they made new years resolutions responded that they either:
- Didn’t make one
- Don’t believe in making them
Why do we think that this is? People, especially teenagers, may not be excited to make new years resolutions because it feels like they are being forced to. When a new year comes around, society places an obligation on people to magically know what they want to do to improve their lives, even when most barely remember what they had for breakfast. Teenagers especially have many different parts of their life to prioritize, being told that they need to find one statement that will improve their life, in the midst of finals season, is pretty unrealistic. This is the pitfall of new years resolutions. Humans do not tend to like to do anything, they are told they have to do. Obligation stifles action.
But, this does not mean that making resolutions to improve your life does not hold value. Self-improvement is a noble pursuit. We should not make new years resolutions just because we feel we should in the same way that we shouldn’t NOT make new years resolutions just because we don’t want to fit in. Setting goals, like everything else in life, is a continuous, personal, process.
So Frontier, although your life is currently filled with narrative analysis, minimum wage jobs, time capsules, tournaments, and the ever-lurking feeling like you are forgetting something, don’t knock out new years resolutions until you’ve tried them. Let this upcoming year be a time for a change, maybe your new years’ resolution for 2023 should be, “Here’s to making more resolutions.”
2023 Year of the Rabbit
2023 is the year of the Rabbit, according to the Chinese zodiac. The new year starts on January 22nd, 2023 (Chinese New Year), and ends on February 9th, 2024 (Chinese New Year’s Eve). The sign of Rabbit is a symbol that represents longevity, peace, and prosperity in Chinese culture. 2023 is predicted to be a year full of hope.