New Year Resolutions – Why did it start?

As a very different 2021 draws to a close, it has had its ups and downs, but we can only hope for a better 2022.  So, as we prepare to welcome 2022 and think about New Year’s Resolutions, I asked myself, “Where did the tradition of New Year’s Resolutions begin?”

The traditions of making New Year’s resolutions goes back over 4000 years to the ancient Babylonian festival of Akitu.  During this festival, they would plant crops, make promises to their gods and pay back their debts. The Babylonians believed that if they kept their promises to the gods, they would stay on the god’s good side and if not, they would not be in favour.


In 153 BC, the Roman Senate declared that January 1st would herald the start of the new year, January being named after their God, Janus, who had two faces, so he could look forwards and backwards at the same time, which symbolised looking back at the year and to the year ahead.

Julius Caesar made it official that the Romans would have to make promises to Janus about their behaviour for the next year.

During the Middle Ages, knights would renew their vows to chivalry and place thier hand on a live or roasted peacock, this was called, “The Peacock Vow.” A resolultion to uphold the values of knighthood.

The first recorded use of the phrase, “New Year’s Resolution,” appeared in a Boston newspaper in 1813.


Nowadays, New Year’s Resolutions are often health-driven following the excess drinking and eating of the Christmas period. The most popular being:

To lose weight
To exercise more
To eat more healthily
To quit smoking
To learn a new language/musical instrument
To volunteer with a charity

While over a third of the population make these resolutions every year, only 8% follow them through.

I expect that everyone’s expectation of 2021 is high and I have two major events I am looking forward to this year, one is the birth of my first granddaughter in February and the second is the publication of my first children’s book!  What are you looking forward to in 2021?

I’ll leave you with my favourite group, Abba’s aptly titled song, “Happy New Year,” and I would like to wish everyone who has read my blurbs and followed me on the various social media sites, a very Happy New Year!!

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