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Why Making Resolutions is Healthy: Dr. Starbuck Explains

Happy New Year
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Happy New Year

It’s almost New Year’s Eve which means people all over the world are thinking about resolutions. It’s a perfect time for us to talk about them.

What is a resolution? And what do they have to do with New Year’s Eve?

Well, a resolution is a firm decision to do or not do something. You can make resolutions all year long, but it’s a historic tradition to make them on New Year’s Eve. The tradition goes back 4000 years to the ancient Babylonians who lived in the country that is now called Iraq. Babylonians were the first people to celebrate the New Year. For them the New Year started in March, when crops were planted. They celebrated by feasting and holding ceremonies and crowning a new king. They also made resolutions. Babylonians thought that if they made resolutions and kept their resolutions all year, the gods would smile on them and they would have good fortune.

Nowadays, grown-ups make New Year’s resolutions about all sorts of things. They make resolutions about work and health and family, about what they eat and how they talk to others. Some adults make lists of five or even ten New Year’s resolutions. Common ones are ‘This year I’m going to quit smoking’ or ‘this year I’m going to take up running and lose 15 pounds’.

New Year’s resolutions are not just for adults. Kids can make resolutions too. It can be really fun to think of a few and a good challenge to see if you can stick with doing a resolution. If you want to try it, here are my tips about healthy ways to make and keep your New Year’s resolutions.

First, just make one. You want to succeed. If you make lots of resolutions, it will be hard to keep them. Just one is plenty to think about and work on.

Then pick a resolution that helps you feel good about yourself, a resolution that when you do it, you feel like you are the person you want to be. Since I’m a doctor, I like the resolutions that have to do with good health, like getting outside in the fresh air every day or drinking more water or exercising or going to bed early. You can do other kinds of resolutions: to help out more at home or to keep your room clean or do your homework on time. Maybe you want to resolve to discover something new. You could learn a new sport or take piano lessons or a dog training class. I know a kid who made a resolution to help his neighbor with shoveling snow. I know another kid who made a resolution to cook a healthy meal for the whole family once a month for one year.

It’s a really good idea to write down your resolution and put it up in your room or on the refrigerator. That way you can see it every day and even read it out loud if you want.

Give your resolution a good try. 50% of adults make New Year’s resolutions but only 8% actually keep them. I think kids can do better than that. It’s hard to do something new. But if you stick with it, you’ll find that you feel pretty good about yourself and proud of your success.

Have fun with your resolution. Resolutions are not punishment. They are just agreements you make with yourself about how you are going to be a happier and healthier and happier person in the new year ahead. I’m Doctor Jamison Starbuck. I’m wishing you well and a very Happy New Year!