Making New Year’s resolutions is a time-honored tradition, but is it one to keep? Recent studies indicate that the pressure of trying to keep a New Year’s resolution may do more harm than good.
The pressure to keep resolutions can add to stress. Instead of being a positive force for change, the resolution can become an additional source of stress, as obligations pile up.
Resolutions can also increase the feeling of failure when the resolutions are not kept. This is especially true of weight: once a diet resolution is broken, the temptation is to binge, and make up for it later, which is worse on your body than simply maintaining old eating habits.
If you want to make resolutions, consider trying ones less fraught. The new year is a great time to begin to learn a craft or take up a hobby. You can make cultural resolutions, like going to a local museum once a month. Picking something you genuinely enjoy can make it easier to keep the resolution.
Life-altering changes are best made in little bits, on a daily basis, not in one fell swoop. Consider a monthly resolution, or pick another time frame that works for you and your schedule.
Manage your expectations. If you do choose to make a resolution, only resolve things that are in your control. “Become a famous guitarist” is not entirely in your control, but “practice guitar for an hour a day” is! Center your resolutions on your effort, not the outcome.
I hope you’re having a great day – let me know if you need anything.