Have You Ever Wondered… Why People Make New Year’s Resolutions?

How did the tradition of New Year’s resolutions get started?

A New Year’s resolution is a promise a person makes for the new year. Regardless of what resolution you commit to, the goal is to improve life in the coming year.

Resolutions can come in many forms. Some people make a promise to change a bad habit, such as quitting smoking or eating less junk food. Other people make a promise to develop a positive habit, such as starting an exercise program, volunteering in their community, or recycling more.

The tradition of New Year’s resolutions dates all the way back to 153 B.C. January is named after Janus, a mythical god of early Rome.

Janus had two faces — one looking forward, one looking backward. This allowed him to look back on the past and forward toward the future.

On December 31, the Romans imagined Janus looking backward into the old year and forward into the new year. This became a symbolic time for Romans to make resolutions for the new year and forgive enemies for troubles in the past.

The Romans also believed Janus could forgive them for their wrongdoings in the previous year. The Romans would give gifts and make promises, believing Janus would see this and bless them in the year ahead.

And thus the New Year’s resolution was born!