The tradition is thought to have started with the Babylonians, who would promise to pay off land debts or return borrowed items. However, the Babylonians made these promises to their gods rather than just to themselves, like we do today.
On average, 80% of resolutions made in January end in February and only 8% of Americans achieve their goals. Without ancient Babylonian gods motivating our resolutions, what can we do to keep our New Year promises today?
Amy Morin, author of “13 Things Mentally Strong People Don't Do,” says that one trick is to start small. If you want to eat healthier, swapping a candy bar for a granola bar is a good first step. Others recommend picking one resolution to begin working on and then moving on to another one in the following months.
The most important rule about resolutions, however, is to not stress if you don’t follow through with yours. There will always be another time, and the New Year isn’t the only time you have to set a self-improvement goal.
So this year, as you consider your goals, remember: start small, work your way toward bigger goals, and don't let stressing over your resolution ruin the positive effects of what you've already accomplished.