Monday, December 31, 2012

Cowgirl Sass & Savvy

New Year make’em and break’em resolutions

By Julie Carter

What do you know about the New Year’s celebration except it is when you make resolutions you won’t and don’t keep?

January 1st wasn’t always the day celebrated for the New Year although the celebration is one of the oldest of holidays.

It was first observed in ancient Babylon about 4000 years ago. Around 2000 BC, Babylonians celebrated the beginning of a new year on what is now March 23. It made more sense in that it was the time of year that spring began and new crops were planted. There is no astronomical or agricultural significance for January 1st.

The Roman senate, in 153 BC, declared January 1st to be the beginning of the New Year and Julius Caesar did the same in 46 BC for the Julian calendar.

George Washington began the custom of holding a party on New Year's Day where everyone was welcome. This became known as having an "open house" and the tradition continues today with the additional entertainment of football games on television.

Regional foods help welcome the New Year in various parts of America. In Pennsylvania Dutch country, eating sauerkraut on New Year's Day is said to bring good luck. In the South the custom is to eat black-eyed peas. More often now, people use Tylenol to cure their celebration pain.

Making resolutions on the first day of the New Year dates back to the early Babylonians. While popular modern resolutions might include the promise to lose weight or quit smoking (again), the Babylonian's most popular resolution was to return borrowed farm equipment.

In cowboy country, resolutions would include a solemn promise to never eat Brussels sprouts, tofu, skinless chicken breasts, spinach-anything or fermented cabbage.

On the upside, that same cowboy might dream of swearing off breaking ice, shoveling manure or owning any horse named Bronc. High on that dream list would be riding shorter days, sleeping longer nights followed by never having to use a pitchfork or do any work that requires a shovel or a mechanic’s tool box.

Of course all those dream resolutions come because the thought is -- if you are going to make yourself promises you can’t keep; you may as well make big ones.

I would like to resolve to be more disciplined with my work, smile more often when I’d really rather not, and first look to find praise for someone or something before I find criticism. I would like to act better today than I thought possible yesterday and set a higher standard for tomorrow.

I resolve to not mention the words exercise, diet, or botox in the same sentence with my name. Health and beauty (inside or out) should be a natural daily process, not a resolution.

I will continue to remind myself that January 1st is the day after December 31st and the day before January 2nd. Nothing more. I will strive to remember that everyday is a gift, tomorrow is never promised to us, and that the people in my life are precious. If they aren’t, then I need to look again.

I live an abundant blessed life and want to never fail to recognize that.  But most of all I want to resolve to be resolute-- firm in purpose, belief and unshakeable determination.

With or without resolutions, may the coming year bring to you all of what you need and even some of what you want.

Julie can be reached for comment at

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