By Katie V. Jones


With the arrival of a new year comes New Year’s resolutions, a tradition that began in 2000 B.C. with the Babylonians. According to the Old Farmer’s Almanac website, the Babylonians pledged to return borrowed farm equipment and pay their debts during a 12-day New Year festival held at the start of the farming season.The Romans continued the tradition of resolutions at the New Year, but shifted the celebration to Jan.1 with the acceptance of the Julian calendar in 46 B.C. The practice continued through the Middle Ages with knights renewing their vows to chivalry on a peacock, roasted or alive.

Here are a few shared by various leaders in Laurel, from nonprofits to city government.

Ann Bennett, executive director, Laurel Historical Society, wrote in an email. “I tend not to tie myself into NY resolutions but take the opportunity to reflect on the year just passed and see what the blessings and challenges were. I try to use that as guidance for the year ahead and it is helpful to break it down into monthly goals or inspirations or things to work on that way. I appreciate the sense of freshness and renewal that comes with the changing of all the seasons, and try to use that throughout the year to refresh and motivate myself without getting stuck on one day.”


Holly Burnham, historian and education manager, Montpelier House Museum, shared in an email:  “I used to make them, but it’s too easy to break them, and then I feel defeated.  So instead now I set intentions, the difference being I will do my best each day, keeping in mind that I’m only human, and will make mistakes.  So, my intention this year is to be healthy in mind, body and spirit. There are a million ways to do this, and everyone’s different, but tonight I’m attending an online workshop called, “Goal Setting and Eating from MyPlate Nutrition Workshop,” which, obviously is about physical health, offered by the Prince George’s County Department of Parks & Recreation.”  


Karen Lubieniecki, chairman of Laurel Historical Society board of directors, wrote in an email, “Honestly, I’ve never done New Year’s Resolutions.  Usually around New Years I’m just trying to (finally) get some Christmas cards out. Perhaps my resolution should be to do some New Year’s Resolutions!”


Mayor Craig Moe said he does both personal resolutions as well as some for the city.  His personal resolutions, he said, were “Health and happiness and to spend more time with family and friends.”

He said his resolutions for the city are, “To make sure in the upcoming year we do what’s best for taxpayers’ money and to continue to provide the best services possible.”

“I could give you numerous resolutions but I think that is enough right now,” Moe said.


Shannon Mouton, executive director of Laurel Advocacy and Referral Services, said “I don’t believe in New Year’s resolutions. I used to, but then I learned better. Too much pressure.” That doesn’t mean she doesn’t have a plan for the year, she said, but she is “old enough to know,” that she can only do what  she can do, but life and the universe play a role, too.


Melissa Holland, Laurel Arts Council member, wrote in an email, “My resolution is to keep making mistakes, and to see them and celebrate them, because without them, as the writer Neil Gaiman said, you’re not ‘learning, living, pushing yourself, changing yourself, changing your world.’”