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New Year’s Traditions: Making Resolutions for 2013

December 27, 2012
Image courtesy of evalottchen at Flickr

Image courtesy of evalottchen at Flickr

Happy New Year! 

Chances are, you will be hearing this often, not only immediately after the countdown to January 1, but also throughout the first few weeks of 2013, as people greet you upon returning to school and work after the holidays. Following such a greeting, they might ask you if you have made any New Year’s resolutions.

What does this mean? What is a New Year’s resolution?

It is common practice in the U.S. to resolve to do something different in the new year—January 1st has been widely held and then adopted as the official start of the new calendar year in the U.S. and the Western world due to the lasting influence of the Roman empire. However, it is thought that the origins of making resolutions for the new year date back to the time of Babylonia in modern-day Iraq, roughly 4000 years ago. It has not been confirmed in any scholarly articles, but it is thought that many Babylonians resolved to return borrowed farming equipment.

Image from collection at The Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago

Today, many people make resolutions as a promise to themselves. However, despite this somewhat personal nature of making New Year’s resolutions, it is not considered rude to ask others what resolutions they have made for the new year. Perhaps, this is because so many resolutions are broken. Most modern New Year’s resolutions are health-related, e.g. I will lose five pounds, which could only benefit the resolver, but some of the most common resolutions are also those most commonly broken.

There have even been studies looking at the success rates of people keeping their new year’s promises, and one concluded that about half succeeded to keep their resolutions through the year!

Will you be making any New Year’s resolutions for 2013? Are you curious about any other New Year’s traditions? Share them with us!

Related links:

5 Apps for Keeping New Year’s Resolutions

Popular New Year’s Resolutions

Top 10 Commonly Broken New Year’s Resolutions

Why NYC Drops an 11,875 Pound Ball on New Year’s Eve

New Year’s Traditions Worth Experiencing Around The World


Huppke, Rex W.”Resolute in my stance: A new year is no time to change feelings about resolutions.” Chicago Tribune, December 31, 2010. Accessed December 27, 2012.

Peršić, Irena, Anica Perković, and Nermina Gravkić. “Christmas and New Year in English Teaching in Junior Classes of Elementary School.” Magistra Iadertina 1.1. (2006): 85-96.

Russell, Nancy. “New year filled with old traditions.” Columbia Tribune, December 27, 2012. Accessed December 27, 2012.

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