History Lesson: When & Why New Year’s Resolutions Became A Thing We Do

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Did you know the ancient Babylonians are said to be the first people to make New Year’s resolutions, about 4,000 years ago? Our friends at History.com say during a 12-day New Year celebration, Babylonians made promises to pagan gods to pay their debts or return things they had borrowed. If the Babylonians kept their word, the gods would favor them. If not, they would fall out of the gods’ favor.

In ancient Rome, Julius Caesar decided January 1 would be the start of the New Year. He did that around 46 BC. Romans then made sacrifices to the god Janus and promised to be good the next year.

And for early Christians, in 1740, New Year’s day became the day to think about past mistakes and ways to be better in the future.

What started as a religious practice is now mostly non-religious. People make promises to themselves. Inc.com says these are the top resolutions for 2020:

1. Actually doing the resolution
2. Trying something new
3. Eating more favorite foods
4. Losing weight
5. Going to the gym
6. Being happier
7. Being healthier
8. Being a better person
9. Upgrading tech
10. Staying motivated

But recent reports suggest that 80 percent of resolutions fail by the second week of February.

Our question of the night: Are New Year’s resolutions a good idea or a waste of time?

This episode’s panel features:
Fox Sports Charlotte radio host and comedian QCB
WCCB Sports Anchor Kelli Bartik
WCCB Anchor and Reporter Trish Williford