Many people ring in the new year with big parties, balloons, confetti, and a midnight kiss. Others, however, choose to celebrate by setting resolutions and personal goals that will help shape themselves into the person they’ve always wanted to be. According to Glenn Miller, M.D., nearly half of American adults “set at least one resolution in honor of the new year.” This phenomenon can be justified by a psychological effect that causes people all over the world to change their mindset at the start of the new calendar year.
The process often begins by reflecting on the previous year and all of the memories and events that took place. People then begin to wonder about everything they could have done better. This new year provides many with the feeling of optimism and the opportunity for a fresh start or a new beginning. Most goals are the same and involve becoming a better person in some way, shape, or form. Unfortunately, many resolutions fall by the wayside and eventually are forgotten due to the fact that people become busy, and others lack discipline or lose interest in their resolution.
Despite the fact new year’s resolutions are challenging to maintain, it can be beneficial to set them for the following reasons:
- Setting resolutions allows for you to challenge yourself on a personal level. It is all too often that people become comfortable with who they are and lack the motivation to improve themselves or their lives. By creating new and exciting resolutions, you provide yourself with the opportunity to learn and grow as a person.
- By kicking off the new year with new goals, you are creating positivity for yourself and the people around you. Resolutions could help you improve your lifestyle and personal health.
- The resolutions that you set often allow you to reflect on your life and previous experiences in a positive and healthy way. You may ask yourself: Have I been the person I want to be? Am I doing what I love to do and following my dreams? Is there something I have always wanted to do and never had the chance to?
Carrie Cota, a sophomore at Rocky Mountain College stated, “I enjoy being able to challenge myself for the new year.” She believes that New Year’s resolutions are important because it provides people with the opportunity to improve upon themselves. According to Cota, New Years resolutions “are beneficial because we can set a goal or goals and hopefully that choice makes us happier as we discover more about ourselves.” She went on to explain that her New Year’s resolution often involves doing something nice for someone else. “This year I’m making connections with people, talking to people I don’t usually talk to, making an effort to reach out.”
On the other hand, there can be cons to setting resolutions. According to Amy Cuddy, a psychologist at Harvard Business School, “We’re really bad at setting reasonable goals, and when we don’t meet an unreasonable goal, we fill ourselves with feelings of anxiety and lower our self-worth.” As highlighted in an online article by The Alternative Daily, some of the cons of unreasonable resolutions include:
- Too many people set unrealistic goals and expect there to be an immediate change. Because many of the goals that people set have taken years to cultivate, the change must come gradually. When people lose motivation and patience to achieve their goals, it could potentially damage their self-worth.
- People rarely create a plan. They often focus on the end result rather than focusing on the process. Without focusing on the barriers that are keeping you from your resolution, you will almost always end up disappointed.
- Creating New Years resolutions often creates a higher level of self-criticism. When people become unhappy with their progress, they tend to punish themselves. This can create feelings of guilt, anger, and sadness, which is damaging to your mental health.
As Eric Zorn said, “Making resolutions is a cleansing ritual of self-assessment and repentance that demands personal honesty and, ultimately, reinforces humility. Breaking them is part of the cycle.” In the end, you have to make choices that are right for your life. It is important to recognize the aspects of your life that you feel you could improve upon and begin working on them. Finding balance is all part of the solution. Don’t overdo it, but don’t deprive yourself either. Just as The Alternative Daily states, “Take the steps today, to better your future tomorrow.”