And a Happy New Year

“The actions of many can be spurred by the resolve of one.”

Photo by Ghost Presenter on Unsplash

By John Dunia

The end of the year signals one thing for many people and that is getting together a list of New Year’s resolutions. No matter how difficult or great this last year has been, the tradition of making a list can be of great importance.

It is believed this ritual began with the ancient Babylonians who were also the first to hold a celebration in honor of the passing of another year. One of the rituals included in this 12-day event was pledging to pay off debts that had been accumulated, and also to return anything that was borrowed. These promises were the predecessors of the modern-day New Year’s resolutions.

It makes complete sense why this custom would continue into the present. Anyone who struggled throughout the previous year was ready for better things to come. And there’s no more optimum time to start than at the beginning of a new year.

It is part of our nature to want improvement. However, that doesn’t mean we are necessarily “wired” to do so. Progress generally requires effort, planning, and work which is often contrary to our nature. By and large, repeating meaningful habits helps instill these kinds of behaviors and makes us more prone to operate in this way.

If you are planning on making a few resolutions yourself and truly plan on keeping them, make sure they are ones which your actions actually control. For instance, if you work with a group of people and want things to run more smoothly, your resolution should be based on what you can do and not expect others to do so because it’s your decision. Or perhaps you have written a book and want it to be published. Rather than making a goal of being discovered by a publisher, resolve to contact as many as you can to submit your work.

One of the worst things we can do to our character is to make promises and not carry them through. Our word, in short, is who we are and how we perceive ourselves. Setting goals that depend on others is risky and often a crapshoot where the odds are not in our favor.

I have not been a big fan of New Year’s Resolutions but I would never hinder or mock anyone who is. The only time I recall making one was in 2015 and that was to finish my book before the end of the year. It was completed on Christmas day.

If there were a way I could make a resolution for the entire world, it would have to be that each person -no matter what age, gender, race, or culture- would resolve to be more compassionate and caring to our fellow human beings. 2018 has shown us all kinds of division, strife, and hatred; enough that it has done everything but prove it doesn’t work. It’s time we all start putting out the fires of hate with the quenching of kindness. Instead of taking advantage of the vulnerable, let us take the opportunity to spread hope and love. This kind of resolve would create such an impact that it would nearly make the world unrecognizable – in a very good way.

Thanks to all my readers. I continue to be inspired by all the kindness you have shown me. And thanks to Ghost Presenter on Unsplash for the beautiful photo. I look forward to your comments and what new themes will unfold in my 2019 articles.

Since 2007, John Dunia has written for many local Las Vegas publications. In 2013, he began blogging and sharing his thoughts on overcoming adversities with his unique approach in assisting the reader toward better self-awareness. In 2015 he completed his first self-help-style book, “Shame On Me – Healing a Life of Shame-Based Thinking” which was a semi-autobiographical account of how he overcame and heal difficulties from his past. It inspired him to branch out in other directions. He now consults with people one-on-one to help them find their own breakthroughs. He also is a guest speaker on the topic of shame and effective ways to heal. To find out more, visit

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