"Life is divided into three terms - that which was, which is, and which will be. Let us learn from the past to profit by the future, and from the present to live better in the future." - William Wordsworth
In multiple cultures, the New Year is seen as a time to reflect on the past, think about where we are, and dream of the potential to start anew towards achieving new personal, family, and professional goals.
Why do we start the New Year on January 1? Where did this idea of setting goals / resolutions for the New Year come from? What are the most common resolutions set for the New Year? How does one achieve those New Year's resolutions?
The History of New Year's Resolutions
January 1 which we celebrate today as the start of the New Year was a Roman idea chiseled into history by Julius Caesar in 46 BC. "January gets its name from Janus, the two-faced god who looks backwards into the old year and forwards into the new. Janus was also the patron and protector of arches (Ianus in Latin), gates, doors, doorways, endings and beginnings." If you travel to Rome, you will see a statue of Janus on the bridge Ponte Fabricio which crosses the Tiber River to Tiber Island. The Romans even to this date believe that if you touch the head of Janus as you cross the river it will bring good fortune.
The custom of making New Year's resolutions was also a Roman tradition started by promises made to Janus on the last day of December "in the hopes that he would see their sincerity and help them attain their goals."
The Top 10 Resolutions of 2019
Researchers say about 60% of us make New Year's resolutions but only about 8% are successful in achieving them. For 2019, these were the top 10 New Year's Resolutions in the United States.
- Diet or eat healthier (71%)
- Exercise more (65%)
- Lose weight (54%)
- Save more and spend less (32%)
- Learn a new skill or hobby (26%)
- Quit smoking (21%)
- Read more (17%)
- Find another job (16%)
- Drink less alcohol (15%)
- Spend more time with family and friends (13%)
A few more interesting facts from the 2019 survey:
- Saving money is one of the top five New Year's resolutions and also in the top five for most commonly failed.
- More than half of respondents said they fail their resolution before January 31.
- Women make health-focused resolutions while men pledge to find a new job and lay off the alcohol.
Veni, Vidi, Vici the New Decade Ahead
2020, the start of the perfect vision year and a new decade, is the ideal time to reflect on priorities. Think quality and not quantity is selecting your New Year resolutions.
Plan forward by reflecting on the accumulative life lessons to date. History is a good indicator of the life journey you are shaping. Both triumphs and failures are stepping stones to winning the race towards your future.
Want to make your 2020 resolutions count in advancing both your personal and professional life? Here are three simple rules:
- Keep the list short to your prioritized top 3.
- Write the goals down and place them in an area where they will be highly visible.
- Make it a priority to review the goals on a regular basis and make adjustments to get more aggressive if you are falling behind.
Failure is not an option, if this is one of your most important top 3 goals for the year.
Learn from the past to profit by the future and from the present to live better in the future. Listen to Julius Caesar's famous words "Veni, Vidi, Vici" to conquer the new decade ahead.
Veni, Vidi, Vici - I came, I saw, I Conquered