It has been years since I wrote my last New Year’s resolutions. I have stopped doing so partly because I could not fulfill them all, which made me feel bad for not keeping the promises.
But I know some friends who really take to heart their resolutions for the coming year. Some hope to follow a healthier lifestyle, while others advocate work-life balance. There are some who promise to find new hobbies and interests, while there are few who hope to engage in more civic work.
People have different reasons for doing their New Year’s resolutions. While there are those who do it out of habit and as an annual tradition, most people see New Year’s resolutions as opportunities to make things right. It is also their way of taking control of their lives.
Setting intentions, goals, and expectations can’t be a bad thing, unless we get so obsessed with it that we forget to really live life to the fullest and lose control over what is happening in our lives.
History has it that the tradition of making New Year’s resolutions has probably started in ancient Babylonia, about 4,000 years ago. Back then, the Babylonians would celebrate Akitu, a 12-day festival starting on the vernal equinox and included New Year’s Day.
When the farming season began, the Babylonians would crown their king and make promises to pay their debts. They also resolved to return borrowed farm equipment to the medieval knights who would renew their vow to chivalry. This became the predecessor of the New Year’s resolutions we know today.
Eventually, the ancient Romans adopted the tradition, especially when Julius Caesar modified the calendar, establishing January 1 as the start of the new year in 46 B.C.
During the month, the Romans would offer sacrifices and make promises to be in their best behavior throughout the year to the Roman god Janus, after whom the month was named after. The people believed that they had to keep the promise or fall from the god’s good graces and suffer the consequences.
In the Middle Ages, medieval knights renewed their knightly values through the Peacock Vow, where they took chivalry oath by placing their hands on a peacock.
In more recent times, New Year’s resolutions have been practiced by different religious groups. Early Christians reflected on their past mistakes and resolved to do better on the first day of the new year.
English clergyman John Wesley, who established Methodism, created the Covenant Renewal Service in the 18th century; while Protestants spent the first day of the year praying and making resolutions.
Nowadays, making New Year’s resolutions has become more secular, rather than spiritual in nature. Before, people made resolutions to reflect on past deeds and develop a stronger moral compass. Today, resolutions focus on denying physical indulgences and self-improvement, promises made only to oneself.
If I have to make a New Year’s resolution/s in 2023, I would be resolute in being more assertive and mindful; looking at the world through a more nurturing lens, while still grounding myself and being true to my thoughts and feelings.
I’ve talked to people I look up to and found out what they look forward to in the coming year:
“I look forward to our people, especially the parents, to realize the grave educational crisis the nation is in. In dire need of attention is how to enable the youth to distinguish fact from opinion and the teaching of history as not a mere memorization of dates and events but understanding their deep significance.” – Felipe de Leon, Jr., professor and former NCCA chairman
“In 2023, I look forward to the economy picking up and, along with it, the renewed confidence of the public in going back to watch and attend live performances and events.” – Dennis Marassigan, CCP artistic director
“To be back to normal times. A face-to-face interaction with people. A wish to continue living a life for truth, freedom and creativity in a world of disinformation. To love.” – Egai Talusan Fernandez, visual artist
“I hope that the coming year 2023 will be productive for the artistic profession. May every artist produce more artwork. As an artist, I have been working 24/7! My inspiration is Mother Earth, and almost all my works are landscape-based compositions.” – Raul Isidro, visual artist
“On top of my list – What matters to me the most is having a healthy family. Health is the biggest wealth anybody can have. I look forward to a re-staging of a Philippine Opera Company production this coming 2023.” – Karla Gutierrez, Philippine Opera Company artistic director/founder
“My wish for 2023 is to see and experience the full revival and flourishing of the artistic and cultural life of the country – a revitalized visual and performing arts scene, especially in the regions; more groundbreaking artistic creations; and more jobs and stable income for our artists and cultural workers.” – Nestor Jardin, former CCP president and art consultant, SM Hotels and Conventions Corporation
“Film projects, and for the tourism business especially in San Vicente, Palawan to come alive!” – Ina Feleo, theater and film actress
“Finally doing our shows! We aren’t announcing it yet; we will probably announce it by February or March.” – Robbie Guevara, creative director, 9 Works Theatrical
“More original songs to be released, collaborations with my idols Martin Nievera, Regine Velasquez, Gary Valenciano, Ogie Alcasid, Ben & Ben, Sarah Geronimo, and Lea Salonga for a new song, music video, concert, and/or event. To be part of a new series, local or international, and a new Original Pilipino Musical. More jobs for the entertainment industry people, and of course, my concert Ang Musika, Ang Teatro at Ako on January 14, 2023 in CCP.” – Poppert Bernadas, performing artist
“I look forward to the focusing of the spotlight on the arts, culture, and heritage of the regions – local artists giving form to specific experiences in ways expressive of their local cultures. And a government and private sector supportive of these initiatives. The tide has changed.” – Chris Millado, theater director
“I look forward to the new challenges, and the opening of Bereber Pilates and Wellness Center.” – Novy Bereber, Sayaw PD founder/dancer-choreographer
“On a personal level, pagkatapos ng Maria Clara at Ibarra, excited akong lumikha ng pelikula ngayong 2023. Makapagsulat at makapagdirek ulit. Pero bago ang lahat, looking forward ako na makapagpahinga muna, ma-i-ground ang sarili, at mag-recalibrate kaugnay ng mga nilalayon at saysay sa buhay. May international festival akong pupuntahan for Black Rainbow and also, another international festival kung saan jury member ako. Excited ako na muling mabuhay ang aking kaluluwang pampelikula. At syempre, looking forward din tayo sa mas marami pang magawang de-kalidad na pelikula at teleserye, mga likhang nagbibigay halaga sa kultura at kasaysayan ng bansa. At sana magtuloy-tuloy ang pagbangon at paglago ng film industry. Gumagapang pa rin ang industriya, pero kaya natin ‘yan. Kapit-bisig sa pagpapatuloy sa paggamit ng ating sining para magsilbi sa bayan.” – Zig Dulay, filmmaker