A New Year's resolution is a tradition, most common in the Western Hemisphere but also found in the Eastern Hemisphere, in which a person makes a promise to do an act of self-improvement or something slightly nice, such as opening doors for people beginning from New Year's Day
Babylonians made promises to their gods at the start of each year that they would return borrowed objects and pay their debts.
The Romans began each year by making promises to the god Janus, for whom the month of January is named.
In the Medieval era, the knights took the "peacock vow" at the end of the Christmas season each year to re-affirm their commitment to chivalry.
At watchnight services, many Christians prepare for the year ahead by praying and making these resolutions.
This tradition has many other religious parallels. During Judaism's New Year, Rosh Hashanah, through the High Holidays and culminating in Yom Kippur (the Day of Atonement), one is to reflect upon one's wrongdoings over the year and both seek and offer forgiveness. People can act similarly during the Christian liturgical season of Lent, although the motive behind this holiday is more of sacrifice than of responsibility. In fact, the practice of New Year's resolutions came, in part, from the Lenten sacrifices. The concept, regardless of creed, is to reflect upon self-improvement annually
At the end of the Great Depression, about a quarter of American adults formed New Year's resolutions. At the start of the 21st century, about 40% did. In fact, according to the American Medical Association [(AMA)], approximately 40% to 50% of Americans participate in the New Year's resolution tradition from the 1995 Epcot and 1985 Gallop Polls  It should also be noted that 46% of those who endeavor to make common resolutions (e.g. weight loss, exercise programs, quitting smoking) were over 10-times more likely to have a rate of success as compared to only 4% who chose not to make resolutions
Some examples include resolutions to donate to the poor more often, to become more assertive, or to become more environmentally responsible.
Popular goals include resolutions to:
Improve physical well-being: eat healthy food, lose weight, exercise more, eat better, drink less alcohol, quit smoking, stop biting nails, get rid of old bad habits
Improve mental well-being: think positive, laugh more often, enjoy life
Improve finances: get out of debt, save money, make small investments
Improve career: perform better at current job, get a better job, establish own business
Improve education: improve grades, get a better education, learn something new (such as a foreign language or music), study often, read more books, improve talents
Improve self: become more organized, reduce stress, be less grumpy, manage time, be more independent, perhaps watch less television, play fewer sitting-down video games
Take a trip
Volunteer to help others, practice life skills, use civic virtue, give to charity, volunteer to work part-time in a charity organization
Get along better with people, improve social skills, enhance social intelligence
Make new friends
Spend quality time with family members
Settle down, get engaged/get married, have kids
Pray more, be closer to God, be more spiritual
Be more involved in sports or different activities
Spend less time on social media (such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc.)
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