The History of New Year Celebrations

new year auld lang syneThe end of one year and the beginning of the next holds special meaning for each of us. I hope you will enjoy the thoughtful ramblings of guest blogger, John Miller with Freedom Automotive in Stafford, as he explores the history of New Year’s Celebrations.

Happy Reading,

Lynn Beckwith, That Car Lady

Happy New Year!
By John Miller
The New Year celebration is one of history’s oldest, dating back to Babylonia.
Over the centuries the New Year’s celebration has not changed much
even if the method or format may have.
January is reportedly named after the ancient god Janus. Janus was the
pagan god of two faces, each facing a different direction. Our long gone
ancestors thought that such an Icon was appropriate at the beginning of the
new calendar to symbolize both looking back on the past year, and looking
ahead into the new.
Despite the advent of Christianity and the shedding of pagan ritual the
New Year celebration remained. Many religions changed the focus from
revelry to a contemplative look at the past year and a commitment to do better
in the coming one. The Puritans of the 17th and 18th century went as far
as to avoid the traditional month’s pagan root name, instead calling it First
Month, but still held to the concept of introspection as the year cycled.
Whether celebrated with prayer or fi reworks through recorded history the
New Year has been the time that we looked back with refl ection and ahead
with optimism and new commitment.
New Year resolutions are an ancient tradition too! Human nature strives
to do better, to believe that we can achieve better, and to voice those hopes.
Our resolutions run the gambit, from promises to stop a bad habit, to fi nding
love, from being more patient with our kids to running a marathon. In reality
most fall by the wayside quickly. We may as well have resolved to “leap
tall buildings in a single bound”.
There are some things we can do to increase the chance of successfully
keep our resolutions.
Make your resolution achievable and something important to you. If we
are doing it for someone else, or because society says we should, we will
lack the motivation to achieve.
Plan your resolution in bite size chunks. Don’t plan to lose 50 pounds
this year, plan to lose 4 this month. If your goal is too big you may feel defeated
before you get started.
Action precedes motivation, not the other way around. Even a small start
on a plan breeds enthusiasm and motivation to do more.
Avoid perfectionism. If you don’t achieve all of your goal look at what
you did get done and not what you missed. You are better off if even some
of your resolution is completed and you can always go to work on the rest
of it again. Use failures as a learning tool and make adjustments to start in
the right direction.
Don’t keep your resolutions secret! If you share your resolution with a
spouse or friend who will give you encouragement or a nudge when you
need it the chances of success go way up.
Writing out your resolution and outlining a plan to achieve it over the
year will provide focus as the year goes on and help to keep the motivation
If you are like me and pretty content with your life as it is and you are
having a hard time thinking of where you would need improvement just ask
your spouse.


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