|A person makes a New Year's resolution to achieve personal goals, fulfill projects, or change a habit. What distinguishes a New Year's resolution from other resolutions is that it is made in expectation of the New Year and fresh starts. Those who commit themselves to a New Year's resolution generally plan to stick to it for the entire coming year. This change in lifestyle is usually considered advantageous.
At the beginning of each year, ancient Babylonians promised their gods to return borrowed cooking and farm tools and pay off their personal debts.
The Romans at the start of each year made promises to Janus, the god of the doorway, after whom is named the month of January.
In medieval times, during the last feast of Christmas week, knights placed their hands on a peacock and vowed to continue living up to their pledge of chivalry. This became known as the knight's "peacock vow."
At watchnight services, many Christians prepare for the coming year by praying and resolving.
There are other similar religious traditions. During Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, through the High Holy Days and ending in Yom Kippur (the Day of Atonement), one contemplates one's transgressions during the year and both seeks and offers forgiveness. People act similarly during the Catholic fasting period of Lent, though this period is based more on sacrifice than on responsibility; in fact, the custom of New Year's resolutions partially originated from Lenten sacrifices. No matter the creed, the concept is to think about improving one's self every year.|