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  • Writer's pictureKristen Tatarynowicz

Do New Year's Resolutions Work? I'm Not Convinced.

Do New Year's Resolutions work? Each January we embark on the fresh new year with big ideas, positive mind sets and often (unrealistic) large goals. Whether it's reading more, eating healthier, saving money or pushing your social boundaries - we've all made them at some point in time with renewed hope and enthusiasm for a fresh start and better year.

Many believe that setting these goals are just dooming them to fail, while others swear the opposite. In reality, most people don’t give themselves a chance at success because they set unrealistic expectations. They often end up feeling disappointed when their goals aren’t reached due to self-imposed limitations or lack of follow through skills. For many years I used to make New Year's Resolutions only to break them every few months, without even realizing it was my way of sabotaging myself each time. What I found out was that if you want to succeed at change, you need to take small steps every day towards your goal, so that you can eventually reach your bigger more comprehensive end goal.

In today’s society, we seem to put a lot of pressure on ourselves in regards to accomplishing our #goals. What seems like the norm for most people is to reach some sort of pinnacle before they consider themselves successful; to constantly strive for more and never feel content with their current status quo. But I think we should only be chasing after an attainable ideal, not perfection.

Why is it human nature to set these goals for the upcoming year and abandon them so quickly? Because we're not as committed to those resolutions as we think we are, says lead author Jodi Halpern of the University of Scranton in Pennsylvania and her co-author Laura Linnenbank from the University of Alabama at Birmingham. In fact, most Americans will make New Year's resolutions at least once in their lives, but just 3% will keep them for 12 months or longer, according to research by Kelly McGonigal published in the Journal Of Social Psychological and Personality Science in 2015.

Another reason we keep making these goals and abandoning them is because the goals were not clear to begin with. They may be too lofty or too broad in terms of their scope.

So, what makes a good New Year’s Resolution? First, find something that is measurable and achievable. It should be specific enough to make it clear what you need to do every day to reach your goal. Second, create a plan so that you can understand how your current habits will affect your future success on the resolution. For example: if you want to spend less time on social media each day, build a plan where you allocate specific time periods for social media use and then commit to them in advance by putting them into your calendar or planner. Accountability is key for keeping yourself on track to potentially follow through and achieve your resolution.

So will you make a New Years Resolution for 2022? As negative as I've talked about them in this post, I actually will be giving one my best. My goal for 2022 is to say "no" more. I often say "yes" or "maybe" to things I actually do not want to do. So, this year I am going to do my best to put myself first and be firm, even if that means saying "no" every once in a while. Maybe I should've said "no" to a resolution after all!


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