Are Resolutions Empty Promises We Use to Make Ourselves Feel Better?

resolutions BELATINA

The days leading up to a New Year’s Eve celebration are full of anticipation. Most people are planning the night’s events, perfect outfit, and the company you will keep on the last night of the year. It is a time to take stock of the past year while looking for new ways to improve the coming one. It is a moment of hope that whatever went wrong will not repeat itself. It is the belief that there will be a door that will open to bigger, and more amazing things.

Each year, mid-December, I would sit down to draft my resolutions for the next year. It isn’t easy to pen all the things you wish to accomplish in 365 days. The most difficult part of the task is looking at the long list of vague goals that can seem impossible. Consider the pressure attached to this tall order of making something happen which may be unrealistic. Society is filled with people who are looking for instant gratification. The idea we can make resolutions without having a foundation to build off of is unfair. In fact, it can unknowingly set us up for failure when we project expectations so high that we stop before we get started.

Over the years, have you made resolutions you haven’t kept? Everyone has at some point or another, so if we break these resolutions why do we continue to make them every New Year’s Eve? Is it done out of tradition, habit, or to make ourselves feel better? Who started all this talk of resolutions, anyway?

Blame some of the traditions on Babylonians. Approximately 4,000 years ago the Babylonian people began holding celebrations. The practice of crowning a new king or pledging loyalty came with promises to give back artifacts borrowed and settle monies owed to the gods (pagan). Although held in mid-March, the religious festival known as Akitu lasted 12 days and became a precursor to the new year’s resolutions tradition. If the commitments were fulfilled, Babylonians would fall into the god’s good graces. However, failing to do so would put them in a bad place with the gods, something no one wanted.

Many of us make New Year’s resolutions with honest intention. We write a list of promises to be completed by a certain time, later realizing we bit off more than we can chew. The intent to do these things is there but if we don’t find the drive or passion it becomes wasted energy. Empty promises can only discourage you further down the road. I propose setting small goals throughout the entire year. Build a list of reasonable targets that you are sure to accomplish with true purpose. I stopped making long-winded resolutions on December 31st, instead deciding to truly look within, asking myself what I really want and how can I go about accomplishing the small goals. You should not stop making your resolutions, to the contrary.

Resolutions are not just a way to feel better, it is about hope. It is an opportunity to look forward to doing better for ourselves. Never lose faith in yourself, you can do whatever you set your mind to do. Take out the pen and paper, start writing down those 2020 resolutions today!

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