January 1, 2014 at 12:51 AM
FANWOOD, NJ – New Year’s resolutions have a reputations for wearing off quickly as the New Year progresses. While more than 50 percent of Americans make resolutions, it was estimated by a study at Scranton University that less than 8 percent of these resolutions actually survive the entire year.
The idea of resolutions actually began with the ancient Babylonians who made promises to their gods at the beginning of each year to return borrowed money and things. The Romans carried on this tradition by making promises to the god Janus, for whom the month of January is named. Even in Medieval times, knights took the “peacock vow” at the end of the Christmas season, reaffirming their commitment to chivalry.
New Year’s resolutions should always be simplistic, tangible and measurable. “We say if you can’t measure it, it’s not a very good resolution because vague goals beget vague resolutions,” said John Norcross of the University of Scranton.
Although writing down resolutions is a good first step, the most important ingredient is belief, as many people blame their own lack of will power as the reason why they do not keep their resolutions.
“You have as much willpower as you think you have, essentially. Which means that on some level, your journey toward self-improvement will be a self-fulfilling prophecy,” wrote Dan Diamond in a Forbes article posted on Jan. 1, 2013.