The CBS Sunday Morning show on December 31, 2023 featured a segment on the history of making New Year’s resolutions that might surprise you as it did me.
It turns out that resolutions were a part of the Roman Empire. According to the website by Bill Petro in an article entitled The History of New Year’s Resolutions, “The custom of setting ‘New Year’s resolutions’ began in Rome two millennia ago. They made such resolutions with a moral flavor: mostly to be good to others. But when the Roman Empire took Christianity as its official state religion in the 4th century, these moral intentions were replaced by prayers and fasting.”
Here we are welcoming in 2024 all these centuries later and many of us think we should be making New Year’s resolutions as history has dictated we do. For many of us there is something appealing about wanting the best for ourselves and others as a New Year begins.
In my New Year’s blog last year, I shared some research about how many of us keep our New Year’s resolutions. According to the website of Time Magazine, “…by some estimates, as many as 80% of people fail to keep their New Year’s resolutions by February. Only 8% of people stick with them the entire year.” It seems that most of us, no matter how well-intended we are, give up quickly and return to our old patterns of behavior. And at some point that can make us feel like failures.
I thought for this New Year we could focus on the wisdom of others who have provided us with inspirational and motivational quotes.
First let’s consider the definition of the verb “to inspire”. According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, “When inspire first came into use in the 14th century it had a meaning it still carries in English today: ‘to influence, move, or guide by divine or supernatural influence or action.” I suggest as you read these you consider which ones have the potential to inspire you.
I hope that in this year to come, you make mistakes. Because if you are making mistakes, then you are making new things, trying new things, learning, living, pushing yourself, changing yourself, and changing your world. You’re doing things you’ve never done before, and more importantly, you’re doing something.” – Neil Gaiman
“Midnight on New Year’s Eve is a unique kind of magic where, just for a moment, the past and the future exist at once in the present. Whether we’re aware of it or not, as we count down together to it, we’re sharing the burden of our history and committing to the promise of tomorrow.” – Hillary Depiano
“New Year’s Day [is a] fresh start [and] a new chapter waiting to be written. It involves new questions to be asked, embraced, and loved and answers to be discovered and then lived in this transformative year of delight and self-discovery. Today, carve out a quiet interlude for yourself in which to dream.” – Sarah Ban Breathnach
“The road ahead is not some predetermined path that I am forced to trod, but it is a rich byway that I can help create.” – Craig D. Lounsbrough
“Tomorrow is the first blank page of a 365-page book. Write a good one.” – Brad Paisley
“The older I get, the more I realize the importance of connectivity [and] not taking people for granted. Don’t be so busy “doing you” that you lose sight of those who love and support you.” – Liz Faublas
“An optimist stays up until midnight to see the new year in. A pessimist stays up to make sure the old year leaves.” – Bill Vaughan
“A New Year’s resolution is something that goes in one year and out the other.” – Unknown
“The bad news is time flies. The good news is you’re the pilot.” – Michael Altshuler
“I never lose. I either win or I learn.” – Nelson Mandela
I hope you noticed that one or more of these messages inspired you and might serve as food for thought for the coming year.
As we all begin this New Year, my wish is that we find inspiration in our everyday lives that motivates us to find joy, happiness and meaning. I hope you find ways to be grateful for your life, for your gifts, for people around you who matter to you.
If we pause and reflect on things, we can discover many ways to celebrate what life has given us. As a person of faith, I have the added benefit of being thankful to the Creator for the gift of life. I wish that for you as well.
Invitation for Reflection
- Who or what has inspired you? How did that inspiration impact your life?
- Which of the inspirational messages resonated with you? In what ways does it motivate you? How do you think it might impact your thoughts, feelings and behaviors?
- Is there someone in your life who might benefit from receiving these messages? How do you think it might help them?