New Year's resolutions reflect our desire for betterment and positive change. We vow to hit the gym more, learn that new language or become more social. With the new year, comes new resolutions.
The reality is that the drop off rate for these resolutions is in the fractions. Even if the resolutions themselves may fade, they reflect our on-going pursuit for self-improvement as a society. It is this willingness for change that has led to the immense staying power of resolutions through the decades.
The “Yay” Side
Resolutions are usually set just shy of the end of the previous year or during the start of the new year. This provides a psychological closure of sorts, as the new year symbolizes letting go of regrets and starting with a clean slate. The New Years’ is a natural endpoint and is a line that clearly stages a divide between the present and the past.
The simple act of writing down a New Year’s resolution or picking out images for a vision board signifies a sense of growth.
Truth is, the simple act of writing your resolution down signifies that you’re consciously embarking on the journey to self-growth and healing. If life is a roadmap, resolutions are like configuring the GPS, giving us a general idea of the road that lies ahead.
A License for Experimentation
By setting a resolution for the bright new year that lies ahead of you, you are essentially stepping outside your comfort zone. Through your resolutions, it is possible to discover hidden talents, inculcate a new passion and work fearlessly towards your dreams.
While a resolution can be regarded as a long-term goal, the process of achieving this goal is sprinkled with small wins. Allowing yourself to celebrate the wins and picking yourself back up when you fall back down, makes the journey much more memorable and enjoyable. Choose sustainable rewards that align with your long-term goals.
Resolutions also serve as a moral compass of sorts- they’re essentially rooted in our core values and morals. Owing to their structure, resolutions guide us towards the person we want to be, slowly and steadily.
The “Nay” Side
Studies suggest that only about 8% of people actually achieve their resolutions. While this statistic isn’t particularly encouraging, this mainly occurs due to unrealistic goals and an absolute lack of planning. The appeal of instant gratification is similar to a poisonous apple, and does more harm than good.
The pressure of a fresh start is often extremely overwhelming. The societal pressure to conform to the trend of setting resolutions is often a source for overthinking and stress.
The emphasis on seeing results as quickly as possible is also really just another key down the road of an un-sustainable habit. This can neglect other equally important goals in the long run.
Ignoring the Impulsivity
A little bit of impulsivity now and then is absolutely essential. However, in the sphere of goal-setting, ignoring your roadmap is one of the worst things you could do to yourself. Apart from this, planning without factoring in the unexpected, is another reason as to why most fail to achieve their resolutions.
It’s important to remember that the process is not always linear, instead it’s similar to a parabola or a skating track.
Setting SMART goals- Specific, Measurable, Actionable, Realistic and Time-bound goals are key in realizing your resolutions. It is at this moment that we break the large, daunting goals down into smaller, more actionable steps. Every time you complete a smaller goal, you can both reward yourself and also finish a major chunk of the journey. Having realistic expectations, accounting for the uncounted and not being too hard on yourself, is key to a successful resolution accomplishment.
While setting a resolution, it's time to ask yourself about the things that truly matter to you. What kind of values does your ideal self have? What do they do on a daily basis?
What steps can you take right now that will lead you closer to that ideal? These are all great questions to start from.
An Added Societal Pressure
It's key to remember that resolutions are something that are meaningful to you as a person. It's futile to chase trends or set goals that are “ in vogue," right now. The societal pressure of “self-improvement” has taken a boost recently, with trends like “that girl,” “clean girl” etc. The pressure to conform to something that is just an idealised narrative, can be immense since hordes of users online and in real life are participating in it.
This leads to the commodification of self-improvement. From diet plans, aesthetic TikToks to daily planners, self-improvement and resolution setting becomes a commercialised industry more than anything else. Here, it's important for you to shift the narrative to an approach that is personalised and geared only towards you.
Focus on the small, actionable steps you can take towards your goals instead of being consumed and eaten up by the endless scroll of social media. While it can be a mammoth task, block out all the external pressures and identify what drives you.
Finding the Right Balance
While trying to achieve all fifteen of your resolutions might be a tad-bit unrealistic, the pursuit of achieving your resolution itself holds immense value. You should pat yourself on the back for doing your best to attain your resolutions. It’s also essential to know that a resolution isn’t a solo player game. Major changes do not happen overnight, instead its the repeated movement day in and day out that acts as a catalyst for the major change to occur.
In moments where hope seems thin, it's important to remember that resolutions are not a laundry list of goals. Sharing your resolutions with your family and friends helps you stick onto the journey for a longer time. This way, your entire community can help one another grow and evolve.
With a bit of flexibility, continued discipline and a ton of support, reaching your resolutions can turn you into the best version of yourself, along with those around you.
Will YOU be setting any resolutions this year?