New Year’s resolutions have been around for a whopping 4,000 years. The ancient Babylonians celebrated the New Year with a spring festival in which they made promises to the gods to pay debts (and to all-around, be good). Fast forward to 46 B.C. and Julius Caesar rejiggered the calendar so the year would start in January to honor the Roman god Janus (the god of beginnings and defender of the home and hearth). Clearly Caesar’s swap was a success that has stuck. Modern-day resolutions continue the ancient theme of January declarations of renewal.This January, in a nod to Janus, make a resolution to refresh your own home and hearth. We spoke to several psychologists for some expert tips on how strategic décor updates can do wonders to granting mindfulness. A January with a dash of serenity and a more spatial-feeling interior to boot? Sounds like a Happy New Year to us.
“Arrange your environment to help, rather than hinder you,” says John Norcross, PhD, a clinical psychologist at the University of Scranton who has been studying resolution making (and breaking) for decades. It’s key to fill your home with strategic furnishings and décor that are useful and emotionally satisfying. Amy Wood, Psy.D defines these as items that are “absolutely necessary and most meaningful. Photos of your loved ones to honor the past, or objects from nature to remind you of the calming natural world.” Wood warns against holding on to the wrong things. “Throw out anything that reminds you of mistakes you’ve made,” says Wood, “Also get rid of anything you are keeping out of guilt, like a wedding gift.”