The idea of making New Year's resolutions goes back to ancient times when people would make promises to the gods to improve their behaviour or to atone for past misdeeds.
The ancient Babylonians are believed to be the first civilization to make New Year's resolutions, and they would make promises to their gods to pay their debts and return borrowed objects.
In ancient Rome, the custom was to would make promises to the god Janus, who was the god of beginnings and endings. They believed that by making resolutions and keeping them, they could bring good luck and prosperity in the new year.
The modern tradition of making New Year's resolutions has its roots in these ancient customs.
Today, people around the world make resolutions as a way of setting goals and making positive changes in their lives. Some common New Year's resolutions include resolving to lose weight, quit smoking, save money, or spend more time with family and friends.
In 2020, the New York Post reported that:
Feb. 1 is the day we call it quits on our New Year’s resolutions, according to new research.
A new poll of 2,000 Americans found that it takes just 32 days for the average person to finally break their resolution(s) — but 68% report giving up their resolutions even sooner than that.
In fact, one in seven Americans never actually believe they’ll see their resolution through in the first place.
The top reason our resolutions don’t stick is a self-aware lack of discipline (52%), followed by busy schedules and lacking the proper time to see them through (43%).
Nowadays, people will often decide to take part in national initiatives in order keep their motivation up. After the excesses of Christmas Dry January or Veganuary may seem attractive. And you will start to see posts on social media where people will tell you all about what they are planning on doing. The idea is that by making your resolution public, you are more likely to keep to it as it puts peer / social pressure on you.
12% of all new gym members join in January [IHRSA - 2019] but by February the memberships are normally gathering dust in someone's wallet.
Studies show that only about 25% of those who make resolutions fail at the 1 week mark, with another 40% reporting failure at 1 month. And those who fail at keeping their resolutions experience lowered self-esteem, sadness and depression.
My 2023 Resolutions
So, I've decided to make some resolutions that I can keep and that will help me with my self-esteem, happiness and wellbeing.
1. Be creative
When you battle with depression, anxiety and, in my case, imposter syndrome, then it's easy to just stop creating.
So, for 2023, I am resolving to enjoy being creative.
There are so many free knitting and crochet patterns out there that you can become overwhelmed with what to choose for your next project. Looking at my fabric stash there are so many projects I could make but I just walk away and don't make anything.
I'm going to go with the flow.
I look at my Ravelry projects and it is reassuring to see all the things I've knitted and crocheted these past few years. I learnt to crochet in March 2013 when I made 72 flowers as part of a flower bombing at the Radcliffe Camera. Then, in 2017 I taught myself to knit. I have also made and taught lacemaking since 1988. Creating things gives me an immense sense of satisfaction. Not just from the finish item, but from the process of choosing what to make and that act of creation.
This year I've made things that I've liked the look of, used interesting materials or taught me a new skill. I've made things using my stash and also made things where I've bought the yarn and materials for.
I'm going to go into 2023 and make things that bring me pleasure.
2. Be a little selfish
I have been conditioned to put other people first. My father used to tell me how I was born to look after him in his old age ... After all, that's why you have children!
So, in 2023, I'm going to be a little bit selfish. At my work, I'm encouraged to put time in my diary each month for self-study and professional development.
I'm going to do that in my personal life. I'm going to put time aside to read, to make and to listen to music.
3. Do little things to make you happy
It's likely that my sister won't remember this, but she gave me a piece of advice just before my 30th birthday. She told me to always have a bottle of champagne in the fridge so that I had a cold bottle ready to celebrate anything or to cheer myself up.
So, I bought a bottle and put it in my fridge on my 30th birthday. Since then, there has been a bottle of fizz in my fridge until I took it out the week before Xmas when the fridge broke. It's not the same one, I just replace it when it gets used.
I don't drink much these days. I've just got out of the habit. But on the last working day before Christmas, we had a Christmas Quiz and drinks. I treated myself to a can of Pimms and it was wonderful to relax with my colleagues over video, answers silly quizzes and have a drink together.
Each night, just before I go to bed, I have a quick spritz of Eau de Jardins (Clarins) as I love the smell and it reminds me of good times with my sister.
So, I'm going to keep a stash of my favourite fruit tea to indulge myself when I want a pick me up and I'm not going to save the posh shower gel anymore. I'm going to use it as a treat once a week.
Some of this year's makes
I only have a small number of people that I give presents to.
So, as each of them are craft worthy, I plan through the year to make something special.
A few years back, I made myself a crochet scarf and loved it so much, I decided to make one each for my sister and sister-in-law. Colours are easy. Sue, my SIL loves shades of blue. Kris, my sister, loves reds and purples.
The yarn is Lion Brand Shawl in a Ball. Mindful Mauve for my sister in shades of cream, warm brown and purples. Healing Teal for my SIL in shades of grey, teal and blue.
The pattern is Diagonal Eyelets by Lion Brand and whilst shawl in a ball behaves like an Aran weight yarn, it's actually more like a 4ply so you get this light open texture that is soft from the cotton / acrylic mix. As a project, it crochets up in a few evenings, so definitely something you can whip up as a fast present for someone who is crochet-worthy.
For my brother and brother-in-law, that year, I decided that this would be the year that I taught myself to not just knit, but knit in the round with colour work.
Working with chunky wool, which is more forgiving and works up quickly, I knitted Christmas Tree Hats. I made two with the brown earth rib and loved them so much that I then made one with the red rib for myself.
The pattern is X-mas Trees beanie from Patternery.
So, not a bad start.
Then the following year, around August, I saw a kit to make a blanket. To buy enough yarn and make a blanket is a big investment. But, at the time, the yarn was half price so I couldn't resist.
The pattern was a 'tartan' throw by Deramores, in their chunky yarn. Much later, I found out that this yarn borders on super chunky and that is how I ended knitting from September to December, and creating two single bed sized blankets that then had to be 'embroidered' with the vertical stripes of the pattern.
This was the first Christmas of lockdown and in early January, my brother had to go to the hospital for a check up. My SIL went with him, but had to stay in the car. She took the blanket, that I made, with her to snuggle up in whilst she waited. I think that is the best recommendation for someone being knitworthy.
I added a leather tag that said 'handmade by Liz' and pasted the washing instructions for the yarn onto the rear of a gift tag as a way to pass them on.
Then onto last Christmas. I have no idea why, but I had the urge to make tea cosies. Hubby thought I had gone completely mad. He kept asking me if my siblings drank tea. But by the end of the knitting and sewing, he was just the slightest bit jealous and asking about having one made for him. Fox on a flower mound for my sister. Cat on a green hill.
This year, I had the urge to crochet some snowflakes.
I dived into my stash and found some white yarn that was sprinkled with glittery thread, from Poundland, of all places and on a visit to Faith and Fabric, bought a beautiful ball of pale, dusty blue, with silver running through it. The blue yarn is James C Brett Twinkle DK in TW18.
A number of years ago, I learnt one snowflake off by heart and would take a ball of yarn, a plastic crochet hook and a floss reel onto my flights to Munich for work. Floss reels are great because you can cut yarn with it and don't have to worry scissors on a flight or security.
I'd sit on the flight and crochet the snowflakes then give them to people as gift tags.
After I'd created 6 of that pattern, I knew I needed some more ideas. So, it was of to the bookcase for inspiration.
I grabbed out Caitlin Sainio's 100 Snowflakes to crochet and go to work.
The book is divided into different levels so whatever your crochet ability, there are patterns for you to work.
Nearly all of the patterns start with chain 6 and most have between 4 and 6 rows taking around 6yds of yarn. So, you can get a lot of snowflakes out a ball of double knit (8ply).
The book is out of print but you can find copies on all the usual sites.