Saturday, January 2, 2016

6 Fascinating New Year Resolutions From History

Blogger: Amber Schamel

Happy New Year everyone! I can hardly believe it's already 2016. With the new year upon us, many are thinking about the past year and making goals and plans for the next. As I was doing some planning of my own, I began to wonder about the history of New Year Resolutions and decided to look into it.

Over 4,000 years ago, the Ancient Babylonians held a New Year celebration. They would often make promises to their gods in hopes of winning their favor. One of the most common was a promise to get out of debt. Interesting, huh?

In Rome, the people had a similar tradition. They made vows to the god Janus (after whom January was named). In Medieval times, the knights would reaffirm their vows of chivalry at the end of the Christmas season.

Since resolutions have been around for so long, I thought I would share some of the interesting New Year resolutions that I came across.

  • The famous author Jonathan Swift (Gulliver's Travels) resolved "Not to tell the same story over and over to the same People." and also:
  •  "To desire some good Friends to inform me which of these Resolutions I break, or neglect, and wherein; and reform accordingly."
  • Singer/Songwriter Woody Guthrie (the fellow who wrote This Land is My Land) in the year of 1942 wished to improve his personal cleanliness. Several of his new year resolutions were related to this including, "Wash teeth if any...shave...take baths...wear clean clothes...and change socks."
  • Benjamin Franklin said, "Be always at war with your vices, at peace with your neighbors, and let each new year find you a better man."
  • Jonathan Edwards: "Resolution One: I will live for God. Resolution Two: If no one else does, I still will."
  • The resolution of James Agate, one of Britain's most influential theater critics was: "To tolerate fools more gladly, provided this does not encourage them to take up more of my time."
Do any of these resolutions ring a bell with you? Whatever you resolve to do this year, here's a good quote from Abraham Lincoln to keep in mind.

Always bear in mind that your own resolution to succeed is more important than any other. ~Abe Lincoln

Do you make New Year resolutions or goals? Why, or why not? Do you succeed? 

Author of over half a dozen books, Amber Schamel writes riveting stories that bring HIStory to life. She has a passion for travel, history, books and her Savior. This combination results in what her readers call "historical fiction at its finest".  She lives in Colorado and spends half her time volunteering in the Ozarks. Visit her online at


  1. I loved reading these New Year's resolutions, Amber! Very nice article.

  2. Thank you, Cindy! So glad you enjoyed it.

  3. I like Jonathan Edward's resolution. It will be mine this year. Stand for Jesus and if no one else does; stand for Jesus! sm wileygreen1(at)yahoo(dot)com

  4. I've done lot of research on railroads for my books by never stumbled across the part about them having hundreds of time zones. That must have made travel confusing to passengers.