By Richard Lawrence-Allen
Here at RSVP we had an incredible year in 2018 and we had a lot to celebrate. However, now is not the time to look back on what was; it is the time to look forward with excitement at all the fantastic things that we have to look forward to in the year to come.
The celebration of a New Year dates back thousands of years, and is a truly ingrained part of human society. However, it wasn’t until much more recently (comparatively at least) that we began celebrating New Year on the 1st January, and many cultures still hold their New Year’s celebrations at other times as well. Ancient Mesopotamians, for example, celebrated their New Year at the vernal equinox, Ancient Greeks celebrated the New Year at the winter solstice in December, and Ancient Egyptians, it is believed, celebrated in July! Many calendars have sought to mark the passage of time over the generations, but it wasn’t until 46 BCE when Roman Emperor Julius Caesar introduced the Julian calendar that the 1t January was marked as the official start of the New Year. This date was when the two consuls, the highest elected officials in Rome began their year-long term.
However, while the widespread reach of the Roman Empire did propagate the popularity of the Julian calendar, not even Julius Caesar’s notoriety and power could quite standardise New Year celebrations for everyone. Many still viewed the New Year as a Pagan celebration (linked to the start of the Wheel of the Year at Samhain, or Halloween, as it is now better-known). Others preferred to celebrate the New Year around Christian celebrations such as Christmas in December or even the Feast of the Annunciation in March.
It wasn’t until Pope Gregory XIII introduced the Gregorian calendar in 1582 as an attempt to stop the skewing of the seasons that the Julian calendar suffered that that the 1st January was truly cemented as the date on which to celebrate the start of the New Year. Even then, it wasn’t until 1752 that England and what were the American Colonies officially recognised this, celebrating New Year on 25th March until this point.
Astronomically speaking, the selection of the New Year in January is essentially arbitrary and insignificant, although it does mark the rough time when the Earth is closest to the sun. Moreover, a handful of countries still celebrate the New Year at other times, including Saudi Aribia, Ethiopia, Afghanistan, Iran, and Nepal. Additionally, several religions use lunar, not solar, calendars to mark the passage of the year, and so in relation to the Gregorian calendar, Rosh Hashanah (the Jewish celebration of New Year), The Chinese New Year, and the Islamic New Year all vary in their date year to year.
Regardless of when you celebrate New Year, there is no denying that it can serve as a useful marker when it comes to setting new goals and making changes towards self-improvement. Clinical Psychologist, John Duff Ph.D., explains that while the exact date may be, in actuality a little arbitrary, having a defined and widely accepted start date to something “gives us time and a goal date to prepare for the change, to fire up for the shifts we plan to make.” Allowing oneself the time to prepare for a shift in lifestyle, before jumping straight into it, gives you the necessary time to psychologically acclimatise to it in the run-up. Having a set date to begin anew, such as a fixed calendar date like New Year’s Day, provides a strict and unchangeable deadline to begin your change, where otherwise you may find yourself rationalising excuses to postpone you striving for your goals.
While the majority of us don’t necessarily stick with our New Year’s Resolutions for a full 12 months, the fact that we make them shows our ambition to consistently try to better ourselves and we should celebrate the steps we take towards our goals. Whatever your New Year’s Resolution may be this year you should remember that, if you don’t stick with it in the way you initially intend, that that is okay. Rather than berating yourself for not fulfilling your goals in the way you wanted, celebrate what you did achieve. Each year we are constantly improving ourselves, bit by bit.
Here at RSVP, we are consistently monitoring our achievements and constantly stretching ourselves to do even better, which is why we are always at the top of our game, with a fabulous collection of incredible happy clients behind us. We have a very exciting year ahead of us here, and we can’t wait to share our exciting adventures with you, so stay tuned to this blog for updates as and when they happen!