In 46 B.C.E. the Roman emperor Julius Caesar first established January 1 as New Year’s day. Janus was the Roman god of doors and gates, and had two faces, one looking forward and one back. Caesar felt that the month named after this god (“January”) would be the appropriate “door” to the year.
I did a fair bit of reading to prepare for this post today, ironically ON New Year’s Day. I sat in my kitchen, my too-big housecoat covering my cold body as the 6am weather outside was reminiscent of a Disney movie, without the catchy show tunes, talking Snow Man or helpful horse.
I loved this quote above because of what Janus stands for – the image of a dual-face, one looking forward and back. This gave me a wonderful portrayal of what New Years often bring to us. The rest of my reading had a lot to do with blood shed and conversion, which I guess is still contextual enough when it comes to resolutions, but I didn’t want to get into either a religious or political debate.
To Resolve: to cause a person to make a decision. Much like Janus, New Years, traditionally, brings moments to plan a head and others to remember what has passed. It seems fitting enough. But how will this year be any different than last?
I recently found my childhood diary when going through some boxes in my mom’s crawl space. Aside from realizing I was a complete boy-crazed pre/teen, I made the very sad conclusion that I was far too weight-conscious at the young age of 11, hopeful to fit into jean shorts and a florescent yellow tank to get the attention of all the boys – something I lacked incredibly. With these hopeful end results throughout the year, each December I wrote down my resolutions… from age 11 to 18, in fact. For seven years (in writing at least), I read how I would resolve to lose weight. Just that – no game plan on the how, just the hope that it would finally happen for me. Not get healthy or complete amazing physical challenges; not overcome my mental struggle with body image or deal with my demons; not talk out my feelings or practice a new sport – just lose weight. Booooo.
I have come to realize that we are really hard on ourselves. I am guilty of this as much as you are. Quitting smoking, losing weight, getting out of debt, learning a new language, volunteer more, travel, floss, get more sleep, do something monumental (PS – these are part of the top 15 resolutions for 2015) – all these things, on the surface, are pretty big if they currently hold no inventory in your life. But what we are learning is that small habit-forming changes to get to our bigger goals is what helps and results in success; not just the big-ass goal at the end of the year.
We did a little 21 day to habit forming challenge in the Village leading up to New Years Day – and I have to say, it was amazing to see the results. I kept my habit of tracking my food and in two weeks only, it became daily practice. A small step towards a healthier me. Some decided to resolve to getting 7 hours of sleep a night, when before 6 or 5 was their norm; a small step to a healthier them! We broke down our bigger, long term goals, and decided that these little changes could become habits. And in those habits, we were changing how we lived our lives, so the big goal didn’t seem as… well, big.
What are you resolving to change today, to make tomorrow a better environment for your success? Don’t get caught up in the pressure of Resolutions – instead, find what it is you truly want to change to be the best version of you, and break that down to small steps to success.
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