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New-years-resolutions

Celebrating Every New Year’s Resolution I Haven’t Kept

I’m starting to see the ones I’ve broken have been ones I’m happy I didn’t stick to.

18 Toxic Things To Stop Saying To Your Partner In 2018

It’s never too late to resolve to have a better relationship.

Why I’m Making My New Year’s Resolutions All About My Partner

Because what’s more important than your relationship, really?

27 Things To Stop Giving A Sh*t About In 2016

Because new year’s resolutions are sooo 2015.

Simplifying Resolutions: Choose One Word For The Year

With the New Year many of us are looking to bring something new into our lives, a change that will make us healthier and happier. Yet, we often go about it in the same old way. We set a resolution, we get excited about it, we might even stick with it for a few weeks and then we forget about it until the next year. If this is a cycle that’s been happening to you, do something different this time and choose just one word for the year. Here’s why:

RELATED: How To Stick To Your New Year’s Resolutions

It gives you focus

One word instead of a bunch of (sometimes conflicting) resolutions is easy to remember and easy to use for every decision in your life. Struggling with a choice? Remember your word and choose what would be most in line with your theme. As easy as that.

It can’t be broken

The problem with resolutions is that once you break them, it can be all over. You see yourself as a failure and even if you bring yourself to start again, it’s not the same. It feels like you’ve wasted your effort, you’re starting from scratch and it’s just too much work. Unlike resolutions, your one word is not something you have to do to be successful. It’s your guide, your North Star. You know you’ll never fully reach it 100% of the time, but it’s there to show you the way.

It makes you happy

Resolutions are often associated with hard work, no wonder we don’t stick with them. Your one word, on the other hand, is a feeling or a quality you want in your life. When you say your word, your imagination will usually draw positive, uplifting images (if not, you need to change your word!) instead of struggle.

How to choose your one word

Imagine accomplishing your goals in the New Year. What got you here? What qualities does the future you have that helped you reach your goals? Write them down. Then ask yourself what feelings would you like to have more of in your life? Joy, love, peace, fulfillment? Add them to your list. Then pick the word that calls to you most.

Don’t worry that you’ll leave something important out, everything is interrelated. You will find that the other qualities and feelings from your list show up to support the one that you’ve chosen as your guide. To have fulfilment, often you must have courage. To feel more joy, you may have to allow more ease into your life. Plus you can always focus on something else next year.

Now, your turn. What word is calling to you to be your theme for 2015?

Image by jill111 via pixabay.com

How New Year Traditions Evolved

I could safely say that most of us know why we celebrate Christmas Day and Easter, but what about New Years Eve? Why do so many cultures across the globe farewell the passing year and welcome in a new one with lavish celebrations, fireworks, kisses at midnight and that weird song, “Auld Lang Syne”? I wanted to find out what it’s all about and share what I’ve discovered.

The first New Year’s celebrations

According to history.com, the first celebration to mark the new year began about 4000 years ago in ancient Babylon. It wasn’t celebrated on January 1st, like we do now. Their New Years Day was celebrated in late March with the arrival of the first new moon after the spring equinox (which was based on the movement of the sun).

They developed a religious festival call Akitu (Sumerian for barley) which lasted for 11 days. Behind the festivities was the belief that good powered over evil, which served a political interest when either a new king was crowned or current ruler’s mandate was renewed.

In other cultures, such as Egypt and China, the new year was marked by agricultural or astronomical events. For example, Egypt’s new year was when the Nile flooded, bringing new life to the province.

Celebrating New Year’s Day on January 1st

It wasn’t until 46 B.C. when Julius Caesar pronounced the Julian Calendar, which similar to the Gregorian calendar used today across many cultures, including our own. This was when January 1st initially became New Years Day. They celebrated by giving sacrificial offings to the God Janus (the Roman god of beginnings), exchanged gifts, placed laurel branches in their homes as decorations and had parties. The parties were quite an event where things apparently went a lot further than the humble smooch! Noise was encouraged to ward off evil spirits.

With the rise of Christianity in Medieval Europe, New Years day celebrations were replaced in lieu of Christian events such as Christmas Day. This is how it remained until 1582, when January 1st was reclaimed as New Years Day by Pope Gregory XIII.

New Year’s resolutions

The first of the traditions which were celebrated, date back to the instigators of New Years Day; the Babylonians. Their resolutions were in the form of promises to the Gods, like paying back their debts and returning borrowed farm equipment. To them, this was important stuff. Ultimately they wanted to get in the good books with the Gods for the upcoming year.

Consuming certain foods

In many countries foods plays an important role in celebrations, but not so much in our own culture. In Spain and Spanish speaking cultures, they consume a dozen grapes just prior to midnight to secure good fortune for upcoming months.

Legumes like lentils in Italy and black-eyed peas in the southern United States also symbolize good fortune because of their coin like appearance. Pork features prominently in places like Cuba and some European countries. Ring-shaped cakes and pastries, feature in the Netherlands, Mexico, Greece and other places. The Swedes and Norwegians hide an almond inside rice pudding and whoever finds it should expect a fortunate upcoming year.

Fireworks

The Chinese are the traditional creators of fireworks and therefore most celebrations included them. Their loud noise is said to ward away evil spirits. These days we celebrate with fireworks because they are enjoyed by so many people and cities put on marvelous displays for the masses.

Auld Lang Syne

Auld Lang Syne was a poem written by Scotsman, Robert Burns in 1788 and sung to the tune of a traditional folk song. In many English speaking countries, it’s sung at midnight on New Years Eve to farewell the old year and welcome in the new one. Many people know the tune, but by midnight the words often get a bit muddled!

Kissing at midnight

Giving and receiving a kiss at the strike of midnight New Years Eve began out of superstition. The ancient Romans were believed to have been the first to pucker up to ward off loneliness for the upcoming year. It’s also rumored that things went a wee bit further than kissing and there were possibly a few orgies going on in the prominent homes. Now, they really wanted to make sure they weren’t lonely!

The English and Germans elaborated on the superstition, believing that the quality of the kiss would indicate the quality of happiness experienced for the remainder of the year. This may be why the New Years Eve kiss is believed to be a special kiss, particularly for couples.

The Time Square ball drop

1904 was the first New Year to be welcomed in at Time Square. By 1907, Adolph Ochs, owner of The New York Times, commissioned Artkraft Strauss to design and construct an electrically lit ball which would drop at the stroke of midnight. He wanted something other than fireworks to wow the growing crowds.

Since then the ball has dropped each year, except 1942 and 1943 due to WW2 blackout restrictions. It has been reconstructed over the years and millions of people, world wide look forward to the famous Times Square New Years Eve ball drop.

Image via http://up.arthuriusmaximus.com.br

10 Tips to Manage Stress and Find Balance

Christmas might be the time of year we look forward to the most, but it’s also a stressful time with family issues, money woes, anxiety for the year ahead and much more.

Blackmores Director of Education, Pam Stone, says: “Stress can affect people in different ways and it is important to know that there are also different things you can do to help prevent and manage its symptoms – to start to take control.”

Pam shares her top 10 tips to prevent and manage stress over the holidays, and find balance in the year ahead.

1. Prioritise your own wellbeing
Take some time out for yourself daily to do something you love and nurture you. It could be as simple as a quiet cup of tea, a long bath, massage, reading a book, taking a walk or catching up with a good friend. It can be anything you enjoy and helps you to feel good. This will keep your ‘bucket’ topped up and help you to feel refreshed and happier.

2. Manage time before time manages you
Do this by taking control of your plans and deadlines. Learn to say “no” – taking on more than you can handle is a recipe for stress. Keep a diary of your commitments and don’t forget to schedule some important free time for yourself daily.

3. Adopt a healthy lifestyle
Reduce your caffeine, sugar and alcohol consumption. By reducing these from your diet, you will feel more relaxed and grounded.

4. Eat right
Proper nutrition can ensure you are getting adequate amounts of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants to maintain energy, health and general wellbeing. Supplementing your diet with a multivitamin can help provide nutrients that a busy lifestyle sometimes doesn’t allow.

5. Rest and digest
A healthy digestive system powers feelings of calm instead of stress and anxiety. Give your gut some added help with probiotics which help support digestive health and wellbeing.

6. Take a deep breath
This will help to increase your oxygen levels and can calm and relax.

7. Exercise
Exercise releases endorphins which are feel good chemicals for the body. Exercise also helps use up hormones that are produced when we feel stressed, creating calm and promoting better sleep and relaxation at night.

8. Practice meditation
A quick 5-minute meditation can have a great impact on lowering your stress levels.

9. Ensure you are getting enough sleep
Adequate sleep rejuvenates your mind, as well as your body. If you have trouble getting to sleep set aside 30 minutes before going to bed to wind-down and relax by writing in a journal, reading a good book, drinking herbal tea or taking a warm bath. You can also take a herbal supplement containing valerian that supports your body’s natural ability to sleep soundly. Other beneficial ingredients include lemon balm and magnesium.

10. Avoid comfort foods when you’re under stress
Remember that refined carbohydrates can spike your blood sugar levels leaving you feeling more frazzled, exhausted and unable to concentrate. Focus on eating a well-balanced diet including fresh fruit and vegetables, low GI carbohydrates, lean protein, dairy and drink lots of water. Well-nourished bodies are better prepared to cope with stress, so be mindful of what you eat. A multivitamin can also help to provide essential nutrients to assist you through the day.