New Year’s resolutions have a pretty bad rap nowadays. The popular attitude towards making New Year’s resolutions these days ranges anywhere from, “Why? You’re the same person on January 1st as you were on December 31st,” to, “Nobody sticks to their resolutions anyway, so why set myself up for failure?”
To those attitudes, I say, “F*ck that.”
Maybe you’re not going to wake up on New Year’s Day doing cartwheels to start you new diet or slog yourself to the gym. But psychologically, you can choose whether or not you want to set yourself up for failure, or set yourself up for success. And embracing the magic of the “New Year, new start” mentality is the perfect way to harness the power of positivity in helping you achieve your goals.
I love New Year’s Eve! It’s a holiday filled with sparkly hats and confetti and talk of positive change. What could be better? And it’s really not as big of a drinking holiday as it gets the reputation for being. Many believe it’s the most dangerous holiday, but it actually falls at #5. While it can be fun to go out and do the bar scene, there are many people who are just as content to stay in and watch the NYC ball drop at midnight.
Regardless of how you celebrate, don’t focus on the negatives. Stop hatin’ on my holiday and start your year off with positivity instead. It never hurts to bring positivity into your life, and whether you stick to your resolutions or not, setting goals is a healthy and worthy practice. If you don’t believe me, here are some reasons why!
The Act of Making a Resolution Requires Self-Reflection
It’s no secret that in our busy lives, spending time on self-reflection is something we just don’t make the time to do all that often. But that is one reason why making New Year’s resolutions is so important to your overall psychological health.
Studies show that those who spend time in self-reflection are more likely to achieve their goals. Why? They are willing to do the hard work of taking an honest assessment of themselves, their strengths and the areas they need to improve in themselves. And taking a thorough and fearless moral inventory isn’t just for people attending 12-step programs. It’s valuable for everyone to do at least once a year.
Plus, knowing your own motivations for change help you stay on the path to self-improvement. Think of your resolution as a vision statement. For example, you may resolve to finally begin an exercise regimen in the New Year. But what are your motivations for achieving that goal? Is it because you want to look better, or because you want to stay healthy?
Looking at the motivations behind your goals can help you put them into perspective and amend them to be the healthiest goals for you. You’ll learn things about yourself in the process, and listing out all your reasons for making a change can also really help you stick to it!
Don’t Believe the 28-Day Myth
Many of us are familiar with the saying that it takes 28 days to form a new habit. But this theory hasn’t held up to science. According to research, it can take anywhere from 18 – 254 days to form a new habit and make it stick.
Instead of letting this grim reality depress you, use it to inspire you! Knowing that you’re in it for the long haul helps you forgive yourself for the occasional slip-up. For example, if you believe the 28-day malarkey, you may be tempted to throw in the towel over one missed gym workout or one cheat meal.
But if you look at your resolution as a long-term change, you have more wiggle room to forgive yourself for the inevitable slip-ups that will happen on your way to your goal. There’s no “race” to make a perfect change in less than a month.
Setting And Attaining Goals is a Good Thing
What really grinds my gears about the “resolutions were made to be broken” crowd is that they overlook the immense personal satisfaction that stems from setting and attaining goals. They’re missing out on a huge boost to their self-esteem!
Instead of making large goals with no steps along the way (ie: lose 50 lbs in the New Year), set measurable goals that can be obtained in one to two weeks. For example, your overall goal may be to lose 50 lbs. But that is a lot of weight, and especially among women, weight can fluctuate across the course of several days.
Instead, set a goal to lose one to two pounds in two weeks. Then reward yourself when you achieve that goal. Maybe buy yourself that new purse you spied in the store window, or just relax in a nice bath. Celebrating success will make your journey much more fun, and helps keep you motivated every step of the way.
Resolutions Help Banish the Holiday Blues
So many people experience a major let down after the holiday rush. Let’s face it, when we look back at all the fun we had visiting friends and relatives and enjoying time off, who wouldn’t feel a bit bummed about heading back to classes or the nine-to-five grind?
But if we’re moving toward something better, it’s easier to avoid the post-holiday blues. Instead of focusing on our past, moving towards achieving our resolutions keeps us focused on the future. And when we are moving toward self-improvement, there will always be accomplishments to celebrate throughout the entire year. So instead of lamenting celebrations past, instead, look forward to the little gifts and luxuries you will celebrate all your accomplishments within the coming year!