New Year's resolutions: A time-honored tradition

A new year means new beginnings and hoped-for changes for many people. New Year’s resolutions abound.

It is believed that the Babylonians were the first to make New Year's resolutions around 4,000 years ago, according to sources including

“The ancient Babylonians made promises to their gods at the start of each year, which began in mid-March, that they would return borrowed objects and pay their debts,” the site states, noting that the practice carried over into Roman times with people making resolutions of good conduct to Janus, “the god of beginnings and endings, who looks backward into the old year and forward into the new.”

Many see the beginning of a new year as an opportunity to be grateful for what they have. It is also important for them to try different things and to not be afraid of taking chances.

“Life always will give you second chances,” said Milford resident Sara Lombardi. “In the year 2016 I'm going to try my hardest to take those chances even when I'm afraid to. There are so many times I've worried or had past regrets. I've learned that regrets are not worth it.

“Lastly, I will stop complaining about what I don't have and focus on the importance of what I do have,” Lombardi said.

In the digital age, many people spend a considerable amount of time on social media sites. Whether that’s good or bad, the start of 2016 will no doubt see people vowing to cut back.

“I have never made a New Year's resolution but I sort of have one this year,” said Milford resident Ed Faruolo. “And that is to either wean myself off of or limit my access to Facebook. I'm thinking seriously of giving it up for Lent; another thing I never do. The reason is that I feel that there is way too much time spent on false socialization.”

Faruolo continued, “I'm especially sick of the politics and, with this being a presidential year, the divisiveness will keep getting nastier; people treat each other too harshly or are too ingenuine.”

Besides trying to limit the time spent on Facebook and Instagram, another common resolution is to be healthier.

“My New Year’s resolution is to hydrate more and exercise more,” said one Milford resident. “I chose this resolution because I think it'll be good overall for my health and help me to de-stress. I do think I will stick with it.” states that 8% of the 45% of people who make New Year’s resolutions actually commit to them. Also a study was conducted at the University of Scranton and showed one out of four people do not carry out their goals.

“I don't believe in New Year’s resolutions because generally people don't follow them or see them through,” said Milford resident Lauren Tickey. “I have never made resolutions in the past. When you go to the gym after New Year’s for the first month it is absolutely packed every day after work. After about three weeks, it usually dwindles back down to the same regulars.”

For some, starting a new year is not about getting in shape or changing bad habits, but making sure they keep doing the things they’ve been doing, only better.

“I never typically make new year resolutions for myself,” said Milford resident Mary Fenton. “I just like to try and better myself in general. This year in particular I just want to keep doing well in graduate school and keep pushing myself to my full potential.”

For some it’s about doing good things for others — promising more time volunteering at a soup kitchen or more time considering the plight of others. One Milford resident said it’s all about trying to be a better person.

On the flip side, another resident said a new year is about accepting who you are.

“I think when you get older you kind of accept yourself for who you are and you make peace with yourself,” the resident said.

Mayor Ben Blake said his plans for 2016 focus on family and the people of Milford.

"I don’t have a single resolution to share, but I am hoping 2016 will bring more time with Carter, Caroline and Tucker, more meals at home, fewer snow days and no superstorms,” Blake said. “I’m looking forward to a terrific New Year for everyone who lives, works or plays in Milford.”

Milford City Clerk Joanne Rohrig said resolutions aren’t really her thing, but she definitely has visions of good things for Milford residents in 2016.

“Although I am not one for New Year’s resolutions, I 'resolute' that all the citizens of Milford and their families have a wonderful, happy and healthy new year,” Rohrig said.