The tradition of making resolutions, starting on the first day of the year, goes as far back as 153 B.C. The calendar at that time displayed the face of Janus, a mythical king of early Rome. The month of January was named after him. He was illustrated as having two faces; one to look at past events, and another face to look forward at the future.
With two faces, Janus was able to look at past events of the year and then look to the future. Janus became a symbol for making changes or resolutions in the coming year ahead. In ancient Rome, many exchanged gifts and also looked for forgives from those they transgressed before the beginning of the new year.
Making a commitment to changing aspects of our lives or behaviors can be done at any time. However, the most popular starting point in January 1st of each year. However, the most popular resolution in the U.S. is losing weight. Here is a list of popular resolutions that American’s make every year as the clock strikes mid-night on New Year’s Eve:
- Lose weight
- Manage debt/save money
- Get a better job
- Get fit
- Eat right
- Get a better education
- Drink less alcohol
- Quit smoking
- Reduce stress overall and/or at work
- Take a trip
- Volunteer to help others
These are all excellent goals to have and changes to make. However, just thinking that we want to do something and expecting our habits or behaviors to change is not realistic. Our emotions are powerfully connected to our habits and behaviors; so before we set our mental course of action to make a change, we must make a shift in our emotional relationship to the particular change we are looking to re-direct.
A perfect example is with food. Much of the relationship we have with our food is emotional. If we are feeling anxious or sad; and turn to foods such as chocolate or sweets, that can alter our biochemistry to help us feel better, this is a hard relationship to change.
If we take a step back from how we are eating and address how we are feeling, then our feelings are honored and allowed to express themselves. Our need to “eat our feelings” goes away and then we are able to make the changes we want.
It might be a good idea this year to skip making a resolution; and instead begin to address where our behaviors come from by looking at our feelings more closely, and allowing changes to take place naturally and organically as we develop a deeper relationship with ourselves.
- Dr. Georgianna Donadio