A New Year's resolution is a promise that a person makes to him or herself to start doing something good, to or stop doing something bad, on the first day of the new year.
The ancient Babylonians made promises to their gods at the start of each year that they would return borrowed objects and pay their debts. The Romans began each year by making promises to the god Janus, for whom the month of January is named. In the Medieval era, the knights took the "peacock vow" at the end of the Christmas season each year to re-affirm their commitment to chivalry.
Many Christians prepare for the year ahead by praying and making resolutions. There are other religious parallels to this tradition, as well. During Judaism's New Year's celebration, Rosh Hashanah, through the High Holidays and culminating in Yom Kippur (the Day of Atonement), one is to reflect upon one's wrongdoings over the year and both seek and offer forgiveness. People may act similarly during the Catholic fasting period of Lent, though the motive behind this holiday is more of sacrifice than of responsibility.
In fact, the practice of New Year's resolutions partially came from the Lenten sacrifices. The concept, regardless of creed, is to reflect upon self-improvement annually.
There is no better place to begin turning the thoughts of New Year’s resolutions into realities than at your local public library. Regardless of the path to a better life, your local public library can assist you. Libraries have books on popular goals such as physical well-being, mental health, financial freedom, career paths, foreign language studies, education ambitions, organization targets, and so on.
Public libraries also contain a variety of magazines on topics such as home improvement, health, travel, foreign affairs, automobiles and more. Public libraries have study areas, computers with Internet access and Microsoft Office tools, and a myriad of programs that may be educational, entertaining, and both.
Have a happy, healthy, safe and library enriched new year!
Your journey starts here!
Dan Powers is director of the Lyons Public Library