Resolutions and traditions


“This year, I aspire to dance in the rain as much as possible, to have more unapologetic dance parties, to talk to more strangers, to enjoy where I am, to work on my blog, level818, and to live more boldly and more spontaneously.” Hammonds looks forward to the oncoming year and all it offers. (Picture used with permission from Emily Carder).

As 2017 swings into full gear, resolutions are either just getting started, or already vanishing into thin air. Every year grants a chance to transform and enhance life as the transition is made into a new season of time. There is newfound optimism at the beginning of a new year, a determination in each of us, and a desire to change in any and all aspect of our lives.

Today, customs and practices originating from diverse countries still persist in our community, and many others. Routines from Spanish-speaking countries include consuming a-dozen grapes, which denotes aspirations for the months ahead, before midnight. Still alive today are some traditional New Year’s dishes, such as black-eyed peas, representing gold, legumes, resembling coins for financial success, and ring-shaped cakes to symbolize a year that has come full circle. While these are the rituals that continue today, over the course of history, resolutions have been noticeably revised.

Resolutions for the New Year can be tracked back to the ancient Babylonians, the first recorded people to start the tradition of resolutions over 4,000 years ago. They were the initial people to celebrate and honor their new year, which began in mid-March. The Babylonians crowned a new king or confirmed their devotion to the reigning king, making promises to their gods. These promises are considered to be the precursors of our New Year’s habits.

With traditional religious roots, New Year’s resolutions used to be mostly spiritual exercises. The New Year was officially verified as January 1 when Julius Caesar modified the calendar in 46 B.C.. January is now significant for the Romans, who extended sacrifices to their holy being and made promises of moral conduct for the approaching year. The earliest Christians used to esteem the new year as a time to reflect on their past decisions and decide how to improve their future.

In modern time, resolutions have started to bear a resemblance to goals that we promise to keep at the beginning of each year. According to a recent study by ComRes Global, the most common goals of adults are to exercise more often, lose weight, eat healthier, and take active approaches to health. It seems that in today’s day and age, the human race is obsessed with our physical health, only wanting to perfect our exteriors.

The Lambert Post recently conducted a questionnaire entitled “Resolutions for the New Year”. According to the data, only 70% of the students that participated made a resolution for the 2017 year.  Out of the 70% that made resolutions, only 27% of the resolutions had to do with loosing weight and eating healthier; an unanticipated, yet wonderful matter as today’s modern life revolves around resembling the ‘ideal’ body image.

Those who engaged in this survey admitted that they waited for the return of a new year to make a resolution. Many claimed that this lively tradition is a staple custom that entices them to have a fresh start. Individuals are able to reflect upon their previous year of life in order to motivate themselves to genuinely embrace their aim for the current year.

The aspirations of some Lambert students include learning a new language, avoiding anxiety, being original, practicing the virtue of patience, trying yoga, journaling more frequently, reading one book each month, and donating to those in need. These responses lend insight into the minds and thoughts of those in the community. It is evident that resolutions are no longer religious practices; most traditions today are secular. As youthful as the participants in the survey are, their ambitions for this season call for boldness. With a new year, comes expectation and optimism, looking forward to an unknown, unwritten time.