A New Year’s resolution is a promise a person makes for the new year. Regardless of what resolution you commit to, the goal is to improve life in the coming year.

Resolutions can come in many forms. Some people make a promise to change a bad habit, such as quitting smoking or eating less junk food. Other people make a promise to develop a positive habit, such as starting an exercise program, volunteering in their community or recycling more.

The tradition of New Year’s resolutions dates all the way back to 153 B.C. January is named after Janus, a mythical god of early Rome.

Janus had two faces — one looking forward, one looking backward. This allowed him to look back on the past and forward toward the future.

On December 31, the Romans imagined Janus looking backward into the old year and forward into the new year. This became a symbolic time for Romans to make resolutions for the new year and forgive enemies for troubles in the past.

The Romans also believed Janus could forgive them for their wrongdoings in the previous year. The Romans would give gifts and make promises, believing Janus would see this and bless them in the year ahead.

And thus the New Year’s resolution was born!


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  1. 1. people make new years resolutions because they want to set a goal for themselves for the new year.
    2. the most common resolution is they could get out of bad habits and make good habits.
    3. it started in 153 B.C and January is named after a god in Rome. He had two faces so he could look front and back and so he could look in the past and the future, and so the Romes imagined Junes and they made resolutions.

    • Those are three GREAT facts from this Wonder of the Day®, Marissa! Thanks so much for sharing what you learned in Wonderopolis today! :-)

    • Thanks for stopping by Wonderopolis, Emma K! New Years resolutions don’t have to end around Easter. They can last a long time and become lifelong habits! However, sometimes people might over-commit themselves at the beginning of the year, making lots of resolutions or very hard ones, and it’s difficult to keep up with them. That can make it seem like resolutions end in the spring time. Have you ever made a New Years resolution? :)

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Have you ever wondered…

  • Why do people make New Year’s resolutions?
  • What types of New Year’s resolutions do people make?
  • How did the tradition of New Year’s resolutions get started?

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Try It Out

Resolutions can be goals you want to accomplish over a short period of time (short-term goals) or goals you want to accomplish over a year or many years (long-term goals).

Whether you want to send more letters to your grandparents, set up a lemonade stand, spend more time outdoors or learn something new by visiting Wonderopolis every day, 43things.com is a great place for your family to visit!

Make a list of long- and short-term resolutions and keep track of your progress. You can even cheer on other people working on accomplishing their goals and resolutions, too!


Still Wondering

Want to learn about another culture’s New Year’s traditions? Visit EDSITEment to learn more about Lions, Dragons, and Nian: Animals of the Chinese New Year!


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