Filipinos welcome New Year 2014 with hope and enthusiasm for positive changes. The first day of the year is a good time to make resolutions. A resolution is a promise made not only to oneself; it also involves family, officemates, and friends. It is a time to reflect on the past 12 months, the memories and lessons they have brought us, and how they will guide us for a better life.
New Year’s resolutions may be a list of things to do or avoid in the whole year, to change habits, improve lives, be a better person, start anew. Popular New Year’s resolutions are quit smoking or drinking alcohol, study hard, save money, manage time, reduce stress, eat healthy food, lose weight, exercise more, and live a healthier lifestyle. It may also be a promise to start doing something good or stop doing something bad. Among Filipinos, the tradition of making New Year’s resolutions is akin to the sacrifices made during the Lenten season, which is also a time for self-reflection.
Commitment and determination and, more importantly, will power help resolution-makers to execute what they have promised to do. Being able to keep promises makes an individual feel better. What is important is not to make resolutions that are difficult to follow. A study suggested steps to keep track of goals and reach a fulfilling year: Define core values to add motivation, define clear goals, develop specific plan and write them down, then persevere.
The tradition of making resolutions dates back to olden times, when Babylonians promised to their gods at the start of each year that they would return borrowed objects and pay their debts. The Romans began each year by making promises to the god Janus, for whom the month of January was named. They believed that Janus, having two faces that looked back to the past and forward to the future, could see at midnight of the last day of December the outgoing and incoming years simultaneously. In the medieval age, the knights took the “peacock vow” at the end of the Christmas season to re-commit to chivalry. Religious tradition such as Rosh Hashanah or Jewish New Year’s Day and ending in Yom Kippur or Day of Atonement was when one reflected upon wrongdoing over the year and sought forgiveness.
Year 2014 is a new beginning for Filipinos; whether guided by a resolution or not, everyone must strive for a better, more productive year ahead. The whole year gives every Filipino the opportunity to find fulfillment and happiness in doing good for others, especially the needy. May the New Year bring us more blessings and resources to share with others. A PEACEFUL AND PROSPEROUS NEW YEAR TO ALL!