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From Jacksonville Beach, FL

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Will you make New Year's Resolutions?

      The name "January" comes from the Roman god Janus identified with doors, gates, and all beginnings.  Artistically he is represented as having two faces, one looking forward, one looking backwards.  That is what we do in January, think back on the old year and look forward to the new.  
       The New Year has been a cause for celebration since about 2000 B.C. when the Babylonians held festivals at the spring and autumn equinoxes.  Later the Romans continued the festivities and offered promises of good behavior to Janus.  When the Roman calendar, which is the model for our own, was developed, the first month was renamed Janus to establish January 1 as the day of new beginnings.  New Year's resolutions began during this time in Rome.  Mostly, they were vows to do good and be kind to others.  
      Skip forward to the Puritans, who avoided all revelry in celebrating the New Year, and instead made resolutions to strive for good behavior in the year to come.  Then in 1907, Adolph S. Ochs, publisher of the New York Times, had a five foot iron globe containing 216 electric lamps built.  This globe was dropped from a 70 foot flagpole in Times Square.  Through the years, the ball drop came to symbolize new beginnings and many cities across the USA built similar structures to fall on New Year's Eve.  Today, the ball in Times Square is made of Waterford crystal with 30,000 watts of light.  
      With such a show being made of New Years,  individuals made their own new beginnings in the form of resolutions to change their behaviors.  A year's end seems like a good time to be off with the old and on with something new.  According to the USA. gov website, some of the most popular resolutions year after year are

  • Drink less alcohol
  • Get a better education
  • Get a better job
  • Get in shape
  • Lose Weight
  • Quit smoking
      I don't hear much about people making resolutions these days.   The tradition seems to have gone out of fashion, and those of us who do still make them, don't keep them. 
     "A University of Washington study in 1997 found 47 percent of the 100 million adult Americans who make resolutions give up on their goals after two months.  This has grown to 80 percent in the past decade, according to recent research completed at the University of Minnesota." (quote and some info site)
      So what's the point, you ask. Perhaps asking more of ourselves, striving to improve, even if we are not always successful, creates self-awareness and indicates a desire to be a better person.  This can't be bad.  So, I for one will keep on making them and, yes, breaking them. 
This year, I have only one, the same one I make every year:  exercise, get fit.  

Happy 2012, dear friends. Follow your dreams!  

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