It's almost the new year, so needless to say "New Year's Resolutions" are everywhere. "New Year, New You" etc. etc.
While we do believe setting goals is great, the psychology behind New Year's resolutions can be faulty. "Resolutions don't always lead to sustainable behavior change, because they are not constructed in a way that harnesses motivation and turn it into action and change."
And because many resolutions don't work, they turn out to be disappointing. By one estimate, up to 80% of New Year's resolutions are abandoned by February... and this is because New Year's resolutions typically involve one of three wishes:
- to stop avoiding something
- to stop doing something that makes you feel good (i.e. eating, drinking, or smoking)
- to start doing something that doesn't come naturally to you
Changing repetitive, familiar, personal behaviors or adding new, unfamiliar ones are very, very difficult things to accomplish. Instead, review your accomplishments, then set goals based on those.
As a result, you will be less anxious, more focused, and more optimistic than if you were to focus on New Year's Resolutions. You might even be surprised at how much you've accomplished; things you've learned, habits you've stuck with, people you've met, projects you've completed. Be generous with yourself, and remember that new experiences are accomplishments - and so are suriviving failure or loss.
Many resolutions are (unfortunately) psychologically unrealistic and too vague to be turned into action, and ultimately, success. Instead, set an achievable goal, then break down the tasks needed to get there into smaller goals that you can actually complete within a specific amount of time. If you need more inspiration, check out our recent blog post about setting goals!
We hope you take a few moments to enjoy celebrating all that you've accomplished over the past year. Never forget the progress you've made, and don't discount yourself.
HAPPY NEW YEAR!