If you are reading this I think it is fair to assume that, if you have made a resolution, there is a good chance that it is related to fitness or nutrition; such resolutions topped a recent poll in the States closely followed by several relating to finances. Whatever your resolution I wish you determination. Sorry, I cannot wish you luck; there is none of that involved in maintaining personal discipline.



I am personally not a fan of making New Year’s resolutions and have never been convinced to ever make any! I am of the stance that, if you really wish to achieve something, then why wait for the arbitrary date of January 1? 



The celebration of the New Year is the oldest of all holidays. It was first observed in ancient Babylon about 4000 years ago, when celebrations lasted for 11 days (not really a helping hand for many modern day resolution makers!) In the years around 2000 BC, Babylonians celebrated the beginning of a new year on what is now March 23, although they themselves had no written calendar.



The Romans continued to observe the New Year on March 25, but their calendar was continually tampered with by various emperors so that it soon became out of synchronization with the sun. In order to set the calendar right, the Roman senate, in 153 BC, declared January 1 to be the beginning of the New Year.



In summary, all this ‘new year hype’ really is just tradition and, like the emperors of Rome, you would be completely justified in picking any day to start your new year! All this said, there is simply no escaping the tradition of ‘January 1, New Year, New Start’. While you may have resolved to cut back on the biscuits, preserve your hard earned pounds or maximise your weekly mileage; you are likely to encounter a character determined to out-do you with the enormity of their resolution.



Don’t be undermined; it is common knowledge that the bigger the climb the tougher the going. While watching the news on January 1 I heard about such a character; let me tell you about Stefaan Engels, aka Marathonman. This guy has resolved to put his name in the Guinness Book of Records by breaking the record for the number of consecutive marathons; this record currently stands at 52 days, so 52 marathons.



However, Mr Engels is not satisfied with breaking the record; he is actually aiming to run a marathon a day for the next 365 days. Feeling like your resolution is a little weak? Respect to this man, he ran his third in four hours; only 362 to go!



I am going to be daring and suggest that the chances of Marathonman quitting are going to substantially heighten after February 21; the record will be broken and so his primary goal (according to the media) will be achieved.



Where is his finish line then? Maybe December 31 2010, but this really is a tall order given the possible obstacles and the obvious ‘get out clause'; ‘the record is broken, job done’. Maybe motivation levels are super high to run another 313 marathons, but for most mere mortals there must be a definitive goal in sight; simply carrying on with any regime or practise without an ultimate goal is not ideal. Bear this in mind as you make a sprint start with your resolutions – you are highly likely to lose your way if you have not defined your finish line.



Maybe you can draw motivation from Marathonman, follow him at: www.marathonman365.be