New Year’s Resolutions are a time-honoured tradition, but given that around 80% of them are abandoned by February, maybe it’s time for a different approach.
The resolution conundrum
The problem with New Year’s Resolutions is they usually fall into the though shalt not category of negative goals, that is, giving up things we enjoy.
Common resolutions like losing weight, quitting smoking or drinking, etc all centre on not doing something. This is obviously difficult. We have our habits for a reason — they are enjoyable, comfortable, or simply familiar. Quitting them cold turkey is hard, and more often than not we give up on giving up.
Goals, not resolutions
This year, instead of framing your plans as “resolutions” why not make goals?
Goals are positive. They are something we want to achieve, they add purpose and challenge to our life, they give us a sense of accomplishment.
Not eating sweets may be an achievement, but in the moment, it feels like deprivation. Not smoking is an accomplishment, but it can leave you feeling anxious and dissatisfied. The same goes for so many other habits and routines.
Be positively charged
Framing our desires for change as goals allows for positive action. Instead of not eating dessert, we can actively plan to eat at least two vegetables with every meal. Instead of not having a drink, we can plan to do a mini-yoga session after work — stepping away recharged and happy will just be a natural side effect.
Taking action allows us to be agents in our own lives and well-being. Instead of focusing on what we’ve done “wrong” we can be excited and proud of doing things that make us feel strong, healthy and balanced.