By Kelsey Schauf
As the year winds down, people are reflecting on the changes they want to make in the New Year—deciding, perhaps, after that 150th gym commercial, whether or not to sign up. New Year’s Resolutions look a lot different than they did many years ago, so let’s first look at where these resolutions came from.
The ancient Babylonians are said to have been the first group of people to start New Year’s Resolutions almost 4,000 years ago. In addition, they are said to be the first people to have a celebration to honor the new year, which began in mid-March when the crops were planted. The Babylonians hosted a large 12-day religious festival during this time known as Akitu.
Here is where the “resolutions” came in. During this 12-day festival, the Babylonians made promises to the gods to pay their debts and return any objects they had borrowed. If people kept their word, the gods would grant them favors in the coming year. If people did not keep their word—well, let’s just say they didn’t get many favors.
Fast forward almost 4,000 years and we are about to embark on the year 2024! Making a resolution, or goal as I like to call it, is not a sign that you are doing things wrong now and have to change. Looking at your list as a goal list and knowing that you shouldn’t put yourself down if you didn’t save that $20,000 or lose those 20 pounds, should make creating that list a little easier.
As we start to think about 2024 and the things we want to improve on or adjust, start with tasks that are sometimes frustrating or time consuming. Personally, this year one of my goals was to wash my face at night. As a full-time working mom to a toddler, sometimes at night it was just easier to go straight to bed instead of doing a nightly routine that included washing my face. This goal was something easy enough to accomplish but has ultimately changed up my nighttime routine for the better.
One of the main reasons why some folks don’t accomplish goals or resolutions is because their goals are vague. The more specific you get with your list, the more attainable your list will be. Instead of listing out that you want to lose weight, adjust it to read: Eat one vegetable with lunch and dinner.
Stress is something that everyone wants to better manage, whether it is at work, home, etc. Personally, as a full-time working mom with Multiple Sclerosis, stress is something that is not only bad for my health but also my mental health. If you want to lower your stress level, list out the ways you want to reduce your stress. These could include taking up a hobby like pickleball or reading more books, but having a more specific goal can make it more achievable. Some people say it can take between 21 and 66 days for a habit to form, so don’t feel defeated if, a week later, you realize you forgot to read your 10 pages in the book on your nightstand. Just keep in mind that you have to continuously do a task for it to become a habit.