And How AI Can Help Get you Started
Are you a New Year’s resolution setter? I’m not. I’ve always thought it was a silly tradition, carving out a set of goals on January 1, only to abandon them a few weeks later.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m extremely goal and task-oriented. I love plotting out my yearly plan and ticking things off my to-do list, but I never embraced the do-it-in-January thing. Goals are more fluid for me, rising and falling at any time of year.
But given we’re about to dive into 2024, I thought I would look into this strangely persistent ritual and where it came from — and perhaps find a few useful hacks I can apply to my goal-setting along the way.
New Year’s resolutions are an Ancient Babylonian invention from 4,000 years ago. Kicked off in mid-March with the start of harvest, the Babylonians would pledge their loyalty to the king, promise to pay their debts, and return borrowed items in hopes of currying favor with the gods.
While respectful of the Babylonians’ traditions, Roman Emperor Julius Caesar believed their calendar would be more fitting if it started in January. The Romans were fond of the god Janus (associated with January). Janus was depicted as a two-faced deity presiding over doorways and arches, symbolizing transitions.
Historical accounts emphasize Janus’ unique ability to gaze simultaneously into the year just passed and the one lying ahead. This symbolism made Janus an ideal representation of New Year’s resolutions, embodying the spirit of reflection, fresh starts, and future aspirations.
In 1740, the English clergyman John Wesley, founder of Methodism, created the Covenant Renewal Service, a religious service held on New Year’s Eve or Day that included readings from the Scriptures and hymn singing.
Despite its religious beginnings, New Year’s resolutions today are mostly a…