Do You Really Need New Year’s Resolutions?
The year has just begun and you may have a list of resolutions you’ve already set. The question is, do you really need them? For many people, setting resolutions for the new year is little more than a tradition they participate in. It might feel good at the moment – especially when you are caught up in the wave of “New Year, New Me” excitement.
But the truth is, the new year rolls around and you remain the same old you, with the same quirks and beliefs. And you know what? That’s okay. You have a uniqueness about you that you shouldn’t try to force into a box with resolutions you don’t actually believe in.
Studies have shown that approximately 80% of new year’s resolutions fail by the second week of February.
So again, do you really need new year’s resolutions?
Short answer: no, you don’t.
Why, you may ask.
Well, let’s find out, shall we?
Too Much Self-Criticism
The first reason you don’t need new year’s resolutions is that they are prime ground for crippling self-criticism.
In my article the 3 Differences Between Resolutions and Intentions, I mentioned how resolutions are a corrective measure. This means you have to focus on every negative thing about you then see how you can resolve the issue. The result? You beat yourself up way too hard.
Giving too much attention to the things we do wrong is not a healthy way of life. In fact, an article by GoodTherapy states that excessive self-criticism can have adverse effects on our mental health, including feelings of worthlessness, depression and body image issues. Imagine kick-starting your year with this kind of weight on your shoulders.
And because the resolutions have an enormous chance of failing, by the time February – March rolls around and you have resigned to the fact that another year will go by and you still haven’t succeeded with your resolutions, you will likely develop negative thoughts that make you feel like a total failure.
Self-criticism is important for cultivating perspective and humility, but it should never be allowed to grow to an extent where it gets in the way of your health or your progress in life. And if new year’s resolutions make you criticize yourself too much, then you really don’t need them.
No Room for Mistakes
Another reason you don’t need new year’s resolutions is that they are often inflexible. People usually put more than one resolution on their list because they want to fix everything, they feel is wrong with their current life all at once. As you can imagine, this can quickly become overwhelming.
Suppose you miss a day of exercise or your water-drinking reminder pops up at the most inconvenient time. Already, you would have fallen behind on one resolution, and in trying to claw your way back on track, other resolutions fall through the cracks.
Before you know it, you are behind on all your resolutions and you feel too overwhelmed by the catching up you need to do that you just throw in the towel.
When it comes to self-improvement, having a clear structure is very important. Hence, some aspects of your life will need to be enforced rigidly, for instance, your sleep schedule. Nonetheless, because resolutions leave no room for mistakes or simple happenstance, they are pretty much guaranteed to fail. You can definitely do without resolutions for this reason.
You Dread Them
Have you ever really thought about the resolutions you put on your list every year? What feeling do you get just thinking about them? More often than not, resolutions lists are filled with things people dread doing.
It’s no wonder that they fail so often and so fast. Nobody likes to do things they dread every day for such a prolonged time. If you are someone who hates exercise and your resolution says you have to do an intense HIIT workout five days a week, then the task of working out becomes a burden you need to check off the list rather than something that actually fulfils you.
Sure, there are some things you have to push through that you don’t particularly enjoy. However, whenever you can help it, these things should not be self-imposed. If you fill your days with things you dread, your days will (obviously) be dreadful. They will drag on seemingly to no end, and the motivation to drop your resolutions all together will be that much stronger.
And that was the long answer for why resolutions are unnecessary.
So, if you don’t need new year’s resolutions, what do you need for proper self-improvement?
The answer is simple. Set goals.
A goal is something you look forward to achieving, something you enjoy working towards. Even if some of the steps you will need to do to achieve it aren’t exactly your cup of tea (such as waking up earlier so you can work on your new book), the outcome is so powerful and aligns with your core beliefs that you will stick with it.
We’ve talked about why resolutions are unnecessary, so in the next article I’ll lay out the importance of setting goals instead.
If this article got you thinking about your own goals for the year, book a free consultation with me right now and I’ll help you plan out your year in a way that will make you excited to get started right away.