By Faye Gaston
When we make New Year's Resolutions, we are tapping into an ancient and powerful longing for a fresh start and a tradition in the United States.
Resolutions in the early 1900s were more religious or spiritual, reflecting a desire to develop stronger moral character, a stronger work ethic, and more restraint in the face of earthly pleasures.
Over the years, resolutions migrated from denying physical indulgences to general self-improvements, like losing weight.
Ten resolutions are listed in the 2022 Old Farmers Almanac as follows:
(1) Lose weight
(2) Get organized
(3) Spend less, save more
(4) Enjoy life to the fullest
(5) Stay fit and healthy
(6) Learn something exciting
(7) Quit smoking
(8) Help others fulfill their dreams
(9) Fall in love
(10) Spend more time with family.
See the differences in the ten resolutions from 1947 in the Gallup Poll:
(1) Improve my disposition, be more understanding, control my temper
(2) Improve my character, live a better life
(3) Stop smoking, smoke less
(4) Save more money
(5) Stop drinking, drink less
(6) Be more religious, go to church more often
(7) Be more efficient, do a better job
(8) Take better care of my health
(9) Take greater part in home-life
(10) Lose (or gain) weight.
A Boston newspaper in 1813 featured the first recorded use of the phrase "New Year resolution."
The article stated: "And yet, I believe there are multitudes of people, accustomed to receive injunctions of new year resolutions, who will sin all the month of December, with a serious determination of beginning the new year with new resolutions and new behavior, and with the full belief that they shall thus expiate and wipe away all their former faults."