Here’s why you shouldn’t make New Year’s resolutions

It’s that time of year again. Half of your conversations involve your friends’ and family members’ latest resolutions. There’s constant chatter of diets, new gym memberships, Dry Januarys and Veganuaries. People decide they’re finally going to improve their grades, get that 1:1, snag that new job, and lose a few pounds. Here’s why you shouldn’t make New Year’s resolutions

Should you be jumping on the New Year’s resolution bandwagon? If you haven’t set any, does that make you a bad person, or are you missing out on a journey of self-improvement? Well, maybe not.

Scroll past that #newyearnewme Instagram post and relax. New Year’s resolutions, as popular as they are, aren’t all they’re cracked up to be. In my opinion, you have every reason not to determinedly write down a list of goals – and here’s why.

Firstly, new year’s resolutions set you up for disappointment. This is because most of the goals you set are unattainable at this time, and they will probably be too daunting to tackle all at once, and yet, you’ll feel you have to because that’s what people do at the start of a new year, right?

Because of their unattainable and, usually, unspecific nature, resolutions are all too easy to break. It’s very tempting to simply throw your hands in the air, rip up the list, and give up when a goal is impossibly hard. For example, most of the people who set a resolution will say something like “get ripped and fit by 2020”, or “get skinny”, despite the fact they have done no physical activity for years, or, perhaps, ever. But the very nature of resolutions makes us feel we must set these huge, life-changing goals. When perhaps a goal of “lose 5lb by March”, or “Start going to the gym twice a week”, would seem much less impressive, yet make success much more likely.

The way most people set resolutions almost promotes self-depreciation. Why? Because we are too hard on ourselves. Say we have an unfit person, and they don’t manage to meet their goal of going to the gym six days a week because they feel too sore from the first two days. This will probably end with them beating themselves up and deciding they have already “failed”, so they may as well give up. Or, perhaps, we have the person who decided they are going to go from eating nothing but ready meals and takeaways to living on a strict diet of kale, smoothies and protein shakes. They end up cracking, because it is too much of a radical change, and end up bingeing on one takeaway and giving up.

Another issue with the idea of setting resolutions at the beginning of a year is that it makes people feel as though they must wait until January the 1st to set new goals or make a change in their life. It almost becomes a security blanket in the same way that you can comfort yourself by saying “I’ll start next Monday”. If a goal is meaningful, and something you are serious about committing to, you will make it at any time of the year.

By setting small, attainable goals broken into manageable chunks throughout the year, we allow ourselves a much bigger opportunity to succeed, feel good about ourselves, and meet goals. So let 2019 be the year you ditch the trusty resolutions (or is that just another resolution?).

Amy Smith

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Home » Mental Health & Wellbeing » Here’s why you shouldn’t make New Year’s resolutions

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