Should we make new years resolutions?

Last updated: March 9, 2017

It is traditional to make resolutions for the new year on or around the 1st of January. A new year is the obvious time to make a new beginning for ourselves. But if the resolution is something worthwhile that you wish to change then why wait until the start of January to make the resolution? In many cases it is sensible to have the resolution just after Christmas and holidays, to diet, sort out the family finances or drink less are all much easier after a holiday with all its accompanying expectations. As many of us will inevitably fail at our new years resolution or simply forget about it should we even bother making the resolutions in the first place?

Should we make new years resolutions?
Yes because...

It is the best time to start planning your year.

New Year is a good place to start from when planning to make lifestyle changes. It is easiest to plan for the whole year when you start from the beginning of the calendar year. The Christmas/New Year holiday period means that you have a few days to devote to planning out your year.
No because...
Some lifestyle changes are a bad idea to start in the New Year. It isn't job-hunting season. It is the middle of an academic term and the beginning of exams so it is far too late to revise. It is also too late to see more of your family now that the holidays are over.

Should we make new years resolutions?
Yes because...

The psychological effect of NewYyear.

We associate New Year with a fresh start, a clean slate. It is when we are most motivated to make major lifestyle changes. The light is also returning after the darkest days of the year, which is a good boost to morale and means it will become easier to make many positive changes to your lifestyle such as spending more time outdoors and waking up earlier.
No because...
If you rely on the idea of a fresh start in order to get things done, unless you have good willpower, you will lose all motivation to keep your resolutions once this initial rush is over. This mentality is what causes people to say 'I'll start tomorrow/next week' but never really get around to doing anything because it is always too late or too early to start now or there is always plenty of time to spare before they need to start.

Should we make new years resolutions?
Yes because...

A declaration is a powerful thing.

Sometimes it is all you have to do to formally declare that you are going to make the changes, either to yourself or telling others or in a diary or blog. It makes it feel official. People feel compelled to do something, they can't change it now they've got it down in writing, especially if other people know about it.
No because...
This doesn't work for everyone, it depends on how naturally chaotic you are and how you respond to authority. Some people will have the urge to rebel, others will just feel very stressed which will interfere with their ability to make the changes.

Should we make new years resolutions?
No because...

A goal for a whole year is unrealistic.

A New Year's Resolution is generally something we promise to do for the whole year. In fact, a year is a long time in advance to plan. It isn't realistic to say that you are going to do something every day without fail for a whole year. We can't know in advance whether we will be able to keep that promise – there are so many things that can crop up in a year's time that we can't plan for - it is a difficult length of time to remember things for, it is an enormous weight on your morale to know that you have to do something that you find difficult again and again for the entire year.
Yes because...
If you make more realistic New Year's Resolutions - 'I will set my alarm half an hour earlier this week, then make another sleep goal next week depending on how well it works' instead of 'I will stop waking up late' – you will succeed. It doesn't mean New Year's Resolutions are doomed to failure, just that they need to be thought out better.

The point of a New Year's Resolution is that you're deciding for certain what your goal is and that you're not going to stop working towards it, no matter how hard it gets.

Should we make new years resolutions?
No because...

We shouldn't just do something because it is New Year.

The fact that it is a new year and it is a traditional time to make promises isn't a good enough reason to make a lifestyle change. You should decide to make the change because you want to improve yourself, you want to iron out your flaws, you want to stop doing something that damages yourself and your relationship with people you care about, you want to succeed at a particular goal in life. To just copy what other people are doing isn't sincere. If you wait until the time that's right for you, you will have more enthusiasm to start or you might find that you don't really want that goal for yourself.

Comparing yourself with other people and competing isn't the point of improving yourself. Why is the way someone else is living their life anything to do with you?
Yes because...
This is plainly incorrect. The time when people will have the most motivation is when they are in competition with other people or are comparing themselves against other people. Therefore, you are more likely to succeed if you make a resolution when everyone else is making them. If there wasn't a set time when people made resolutions then people would not make these life changes, they would go on as they were. The New Year is a motivation that ordinarily you would not have.

Should we make new years resolutions?
No because...

There is pressure on you to fail New Year's Resolutions.

In the media, New Year's Resolutions are seen as something people will quickly give up on. It is expected, almost a trope. This may be because of the pessimist/defeatist attitude of the British or the media's attempt to get people to fail so that they can feel bad about themselves and buy more products to cheer themselves up/affirm their lives, or to realise that it is in their nature to want to enjoy life's pleasures and indulge themselves and, again, buy more products. Either way, there is pressure on you to fail. Why not wait until there isn't any pressure or, in fact, anyone bothering you one way or the other?
Yes because...
Depending on personality, some people thrive on adversity – they will take up the challenge of someone trying to pressure them to fail by fighting all the harder to succeed. Which is more inspiring, an easy victory or a victory against great odds?

On the opposite side of the coin, there will be more friends and family who also want to make resolutions and if they are good friends, you will be able to support each other in keeping your resolutions.


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