When is the best time for New Year resolutions?

Janus Roman God of New YearDo you make New Year resolutions? If so, do they work for you? Is the New Year as we celebrate it – in January – really the best time for making new commitments?

“People do it all wrong,” says Robert Butterworth PHD, a clinical psychologist in Los Angeles. “The worst time to make New Year’s resolutions is on New Year’s Eve. We’re exhausted after the holidays. We’re stressed out. The weather is bad.”

It was only quite recently that January 1st became the first day of the year in our Western culture, after the Gregorian calendar came into effect in 1752.

The month of January was originally named by the Romans (after Janusthe god of New Year). Janus had two faces: one looked back on the past the other into the future. The Romans worshipped him as a symbol of endings and new beginnings.

Until 1751 in England and Wales Roman Julian calendar was used but the New Year started on 25th March – Lady Day. During the Middle Ages several other days had been used as the first day of the new year (1 March, 25 March, Easter, 1 September, 25 December).

Historically, spring was a time for starting agricultural work – with nature awakening for the new growing season. An esoteric view of the New Year makes it the rebirth of life in spring after winter.

Traditionally the New Year began in the springtime when the sun entered Aries. So a resolution at this time may have symbolised purification of the spirit.

In spring the weather is getting better after winter, there is more daylight, and we usually feel more energised. It is a better time to set goals as we are more able to follow them.

Of course, I don’t want to discourage you if you are really looking forward to your new commitments in the New Year. It depends on how big they are and how determined you are to carry them through. But don’t be too tough on yourself if it’s hard going, maybe you just need to wait a few weeks for the sun to shine and your energy levels to rise.

On the other hand, you don’t need to wait until New Year to take a new commitment. I believe the aim of life is to constantly evolve, which means making changes often and resetting our goals.

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