Broken New Year’s resolutions: an ancient tradition

Historians have discovered Babylonian carvings dating back to New Year’s Day almost 4,000 years ago. These cuneiform tablets detail what are perhaps some of the earliest known diet plans and work- out routines to have ever been abandoned by humans.

Maybe ancient Babylonians didn’t really sit in their adobe-brick houses stressing about weight loss or gym memberships –- but they were still the first people to make New Year’s resolutions, according to These usually involved appeasing the gods to avoid a horrible fate.

My guess is that success rates were near 100 percent with the stakes being so high. But what’s the success rate for modern resolutions?

Forbes magazine says only 25 percent of people who make resolutions continue them after 30 days. Only 8 percent will fulfill them.

Cameron Jon, a Paulding student, said he has made resolutions and forgotten about them throughout previous years. Yet he and many others still believe making New Year’s resolutions can be helpful for at least a few months.

The problem, then, is not an initial lack of determination. Those who make serious resolutions fully intend to carry them out.

If we start out so determined, why are we often unable to succeed? For a while I wondered if our goals have become unrealistic.

Beth Pereira from the Paulding campus said, “[My resolution is] to not allow situations to cause me stress by changing how I respond to them.” She then gave her game plan– using time management techniques and practicing yoga to stay mellow.

That doesn’t sound far-fetched. It sounds like what most would consider a reasonable resolution: an attainable goal with a plan of action.

Another student, Brandon Jon, said one of the best New Year’s resolutions would be to drink more water.

I have made New Year’s resolutions in the past — cutting back on fast food, waking up earlier and going for runs four

times a week. I started off each time as motivated as anyone. I would channel my inner, little engine and race off to find a better, happier me… for about two weeks.

It was the convenience of cheeseburgers that did my resolutions in. And forgetting to set my alarm. And a million other excuses I made until I neglected to do even that anymore.

The thing is, none of us are scared of crossing any mythological deities. No one is going to smite us for choosing cookies over carrot sticks or for sleeping in an extra hour. I have achievable things that I want and expect to accomplish, but my old habits stay cozily hidden in my mind. Only time and persistence can send them packing in this day and age.

Chelsey Ginther, a Paulding student, said the short-lived “hype of the new year” is one of the main culprits behind the death of our resolutions. We mean well, but that can only take us so far. Our careful planning and ambitions may be grounded and within reach, but we have to extend our arms a little further than what’s comfort- able. If we don’t, our resolutions will be nothing but buried artifacts.