New Year: Are resolutions really worth it?
February 11, 2022
As January slowly approaches, people across the globe highly anticipate a fruitful ending to their long year, spurring the urge to complete goals they were not able to accomplish.
The idea of a New Year resolution brings hope for the coming year and can inspire one to stick to their journey of self-growth and reflection throughout the long months of the year. The beginning of the new year offers a clean slate and fresh start, allowing someone the power to take control of their year and facilitate healthy change.
According to Glenn Miller, M.D. nearly 90% of those that plan to incorporate a New Year resolution into their lives fail. Anyone can meet goals through the process of taking on a challenge.
“The number one reason people give for not making New Year resolutions is that they will fail to keep them,” said Miller.
Despite this, one should consider all the positives that a resolution brings that outweigh the mere fear of failing to accomplish one’s desire for the year.
“Making resolutions sets forth a personal challenge. It is human nature to become content with our lot in life, ‘maintaining the status quo’ if you would,” said Miller. “By making well-conceived resolutions you are able to explore your potential and continue to grow as an individual and a productive member of society.”
Those who make resolutions to change are 10 times more likely to achieve those changes than people who want change but never put forth the effort to do so. Proving the importance of making a New Year resolution because of the positive impacts it has on one’s mentality, as it influences them to chase the goal they are wanting to achieve even if it isn’t put into full actuality.
In order to follow through with one’s resolution certain measures should be put in place to ensure a successful process. The New York Times describes this process, breaking down all the necessary factors needed to bring your ideal resolution into fruition. There are five characteristics that one´s resolution should follow: specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound. These components were found from the overarching idea that New Year resolutions primarily fail for three intertwining reasons.
“It’s a resolution created based on what someone else (or society) is telling you to change. It’s too vague. You don’t have a realistic plan for achieving your resolution. Your goals should be smart — and SMART. That’s an acronym coined in the journal Management Review in 1981 for specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound,” said Jen Miller from The New York Times.
Following these guidelines will allow for a manageable resolution to spark the intended change for the next year. “By carefully selecting your resolution and working diligently to maintain your drive to complete it, one can signify the beginning of a more motivated self, ready to take on anything the new year will bring.” Starting your year on the right note by intending to improve your life will create positive reinforcement to allow growth for the new year. Any effort is better than not trying at all.
New Year: Are resolutions really worth it?
Finally, we’ve made it through another year. 365 days have elapsed and as they come to a close people begin to reflect over the past 12 months. The exciting and memorable moments stick out as much as the failures and not-so-good moments. People become fixated on what they can improve on, both mentally and physically, throughout the upcoming year. What better way to make yourself improve than to put those so-called goals and dreams into action in the form of a resolution?
A resolution is a simple statement or mantra one will live by that encompasses their overall goal of becoming a better version of their past years’ self. On the outside, the idea sounds perfect. The next year is practically a clean slate; it’s the perfect time to start fresh. “New Year new me,” am I right? Wrong. New Year’s resolutions are equivalent to failure. They’re degrading aspirations that, in the end, rarely work out. Those very statements and mantras that are supposed to raise one up become the source of weight that holds them back. Yeah, New Year’s resolutions suck, but that doesn’t mean that those dreams and goals cannot be set or achieved. They can, just not in the form of resolutions.
First, it must be discussed why New Year’s resolutions are doomed to fail. In the end, this failure chalks up to three main mistakes.
Most people get caught up with the New Year’s hype and end up making a resolution because they felt pressured by society, the media and everyone else around them. Resolutions are like a trend. Everyone loves them for a little while, but in a short amount of time, people either become bored and forget or break the resolution altogether.
Not much thought nor planning goes into making a resolution. Without beforehand thought or a plan of action, resolutions become unknown and very difficult to achieve. When Jan. 1 hits, instead of being able to supposedly start fresh and make a big change, people become confused and unsure how to follow through.
Resolutions are not specific. They have poorly planned wide-set intentions. People end up biting off more than they can chew. They identify a major theme and try to just go off that. Not only is this unsustainable but it doesn’t allow any baseline on how to achieve or continue to work towards a goal so broad. All it does is allow too much space for excuses.
If that list isn’t enough evidence on why resolutions suck and need to go, there is underlying, overlooked pessimism behind a resolution.
Resolutions are an intention mainly created with words associated with negativity. Some of the most popular resolutions every year all start with the word “don’t” or the phrases “I have to” and “I will.” From the get-go, resolutions are not seen as something one wants or gets to do. Jonathan Alpert, a psychotherapist who wrote the book “Be Fearless: Change Your Life in 28 Days,” put it this way: “So much of how we talk to ourselves impacts our actions and our behavior.” Without the use of optimism and words that radiate positively in the structure one’s resolution cannot work out.
New Year’s resolutions aren’t even for the person themselves. As mentioned before, these intentions are not based on what someone really wants to achieve but on what society wants. Goals centered around dieting and exercise normally are based on influence from the prevalent stereotyping and shaming. Alpert talked more about this idea in an interview with Business Insider. He said, “I think it’s important for people to set goals that are for themselves and unique to themselves.” The fact that resolutions are the offspring of society and others’ personal opinions and not the ones making the resolutions is what makes them unsuccessful.
Resolutions become an outlet for people to beat themselves up. Because the resolutions form without forethought, people allow negative thoughts about themselves to form when failure takes place. The act of trying to better oneself should never be a reason for one to be mean to themselves.
Now, here’s the part I know you all have been waiting to hear. How do you not fail? What do you do instead? Don’t wait for the new year or for when all your friends and society are trying to wipe the slate clean. Don’t even wait for tomorrow. Start today. GO FOR IT! You don’t need a new year or even a resolution. You can better yourself by creating a detailed and positivity-based plan. Take that negative, vague and unrealistic resolution and turn it into a well thought out goal. Make the goal attainable. Make it optimistically worded so it motivates you to continue working towards it.
Be specific. If you want it to last, write out all the steps you will need to reach your goal. Your goal doesn’t have to be big. Small victories are as important as the big ones. Celebrate every milestone you hit as you improve yourself overall.
Nobody said reaching your goals was going to be easy. Be open to the challenge of change. If change was easy people would do it a lot more often. Don’t forget as you grow and progress your goals can too. Allow wiggle room for yourself. Your goals can change and that’s okay.
As the new year begins and the hype around resolutions is at a high, don’t get wrapped up in it. Create goals that will allow for your own lasting transformation. After all, resolutions suck and they’re going to fail, so don’t wait for a new year where failure is possible, start today and begin the journey in bettering yourself.