Our weekly slot takes a lighthearted look at a news issue of the week: New Year’s Resolutions
Q: It’s that time of year again. So what’s this New Year resolution all about then?
A: Well, a new Year’s resolution is a tradition where people set themselves goals for the coming year. The practice began thousands of years ago when the Babylonians made promises to their god’s to repay their debts and to return anything they may have borrowed over the previous year. The Romans also made promises to their gods, most notably the god Janus, after which January is named. Medieval knights made a vow called “the peacock vow” where they promised to reaffirm their commitment to chivalry.
Q: All very nice but what is the point of it all?
A: A new calendar year is a time of not only reflecting on the year that has passed, but also a time of looking forward to the forthcoming year. The idea of a New Year’s resolution is one that, regardless of creed, is based upon annual self-improvement.
Q: I see. So what sort of resolutions do people make?
A: People make all sorts of resolutions, but the most popular ones are about improving your health, helping others more, being kinder to the environment, resolve any financial problems, finding a new job, getting better grades at school or gaining a new skill or qualification.
Q: How successful are people in actually sticking to these promises?
A: It all depends on the person of course, but according to a study of 3,000 people, conducted in 2007 by Richard Wiseman from the University of Bristol in the UK, 88 per cent of New Year’s Resolutions fail – which is a shame.
Q: Er, so what’s the point?
A: Don’t be all bah humbug. Making a resolution at least shows some intent on the part of the person. It’s a start.
Q: Are resolutions set only by the individual or can groups take
part in the same resolution?
A: Most resolutions are set by individuals, but many groups set them to be completed by the group members and lots of companies set them as well, as part of proposed policy change.
Don’t say: Most resolutions fail so I won’t bother.
Do say: A New Year is a great chance for me to improve an aspect of my life and I will work hard to achieve my goals in 2015.