To the extent that New Year's resolutions are the triumph of hope over experience (how did last year's go?), we are modern torch-bearers for time-honored human hopefulness. I rather like what that says about us!
The ancient Babylonians practiced the resolution craft, and according to historians often made a new year's pledge to return borrowed farm equipment. Where is that darn plowshare, anyway?
The Romans, who named January for us after their forward-and-back-facing god, Janus, often took stock of their past behaviors, and vowed to make improvements in the year ahead. We are told they frequently sought forgiveness from enemies -- who doubtless had close encounters with the Roman sword.
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