The Babylonian Legacy of New Year’s Resolutions and 5 Tips to Maintain Your 2021 Resolutions
I have noticed that many journalists like to compare multilingual and multicultural cities such as Toronto, to the City of Babel. In biblical literature, the story of the construction of the Tower of Babel was an attempt to explain the existence of diverse human languages. [Source: Tower of Babel | Story, Summary, Meaning, & Facts | Britannica] Indeed, with Toronto’s 150+ languages and dialects, we are a true picture of linguistic and cultural diversity.
But did you know that the Babylonians are also responsible for another legacy? That of New Year’s Parties and Resolutions! New Year’s resolutions originated from the Babylonians, who reportedly made promises to the gods in hopes they’d earn good favor in the coming year. They often resolved to get out of debt [source: A Historical Look at New Year’s Resolutions – Why Do People Make New Year’s Resolutions? | HowStuffWorks].
Sadly, we no longer continue the Babylonian practice from 4,000 years ago of ringing in the new year with an 11-day festival in March. That is one tradition I would love to reintroduce to modern times!
This year, due to the COVID-19 lockdown restrictions, Torontonians had a much more subtle New Year, compared to the Babylonians, with very little partying to speak of. Most people stayed home and celebrated it with immediate family. At our house, we had a “junk food party and movie night” which was quite cozy.
But now it’s time to get down to those grandiose New Year’s Resolutions we have made for ourselves, including losing weight and exercising more. Many people also resolve to quite smoking, drink less, curb frivolous spending, among many others.
So how can you stick to your New Year’s resolutions to be sure you obtain them?
I have researched some expert websites on maintaining New Year’s resolutions, and have come up with a list of 5 tips to help reach your goals:
- Tell someone. One of the best things you can do is to tell someone about your goals. By communicating your wishes to someone you trust, you are invoking their support, and making yourself more accountable to someone you don’t want to disappoint. You can also find online support groups with people looking to share ways to achieve similar goals.
- One step at a time. Replacing unhealthy behaviours with healthy ones takes time. Don’t get overwhelmed by taking on too much at one time. Work towards one change at a time.
- Reward yourself. Don’t wait until the last pound to call yourself a winner. Break your goals into smaller benchmarks, then give yourself a pat on the back for every achievement. Do a happy dance for every pound lost! Blast your favourite tune each time you reach 5,000 steps! Commend yourself out loud for declining that last drink!
- Learn from your mistakes. Don’t give up if you hit some roadblocks along the way. Try to understand what is holding you back. Have you set yourself up with too big of a challenge? Try revaluating your strategies. If 30 consecutive minutes of exercise is too much to include in your busy schedule, break it down by taking three 10-minute walks — one before work, one during lunch, one after work. Or try a 10-minute mix of marching, stair climbing, and jumping rope or similar activities while watching Netflix in the evening. Find a system that works for you.
- Keep a Resolution Journal. Record your successes and struggles in a Resolution Journal. Write down the reasons why you are working toward your goal so that you can refer to them during times when you feel uninspired and unmotivated. Think about what is causing you to falter (such as stress from work or home life) and ways to cope effectively.
[Sources: Making Your New Year’s Resolution Stick (apa.org) and Seven steps for making your New Year’s resolutions stick – Harvard Health and 10 Great Tips for Keeping Your Resolutions This Year (verywellmind.com)]
Whatever your New Year’s Resolutions may be, I wish you happiness, health and success in 2021!
I do hope that by the end of this year, we will all be able to party like it’s 1979 BCE in the City of Babel.
©Loretta Murphy, Loretta Murphy Translations. All Rights Reserved. 2021.