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New Year's Resolutions

Gennaio 2019
Con un piede nel passato e l’altro nel futuro, ad ogni inizio d’Anno Nuovo ci poniamo degli obiettivi vitali da raggiungere. Questa consuetudine, destinata al fallimento, ha radici storiche lontane.

di Victor Ll. Blackburn


With the arrival of a new year, we once again set our sights on improvements we want to make in our lives, listing them as our ‘New Year’s resolutions’. Chances are this list will look very much like the one we made exactly a year ago, while also being identical to the one we’ll be making at the beginning of 2020.  


If it’s any consolation, we can assure you that humans have been making – and breaking – New Year resolutions for as long as there have been calendars. Our present twelve-month calendar is, like so many things, a Roman creation, and the god that they put in charge of the first month of the year couldn’t be more appropriate: Janus, the god of beginnings and of endings.  


With the arrival of Christianity, these beginnings and endings had more to do with the fulfilment of religious duties like “I must stop falling asleep during Sunday mass.” It was not until the 19th century that we discover people talking specifically of ‘New Year resolutions,’ listing them, and failing to live up to their own expectations. In other words, we can always say that by breaking our own promises, we’re simply following an ancestral tradition.   

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