No one knows where the idea of making New Year’s resolutions first originated, but what we do know is that resolutions were recorded by Babylonians over 4000 years ago. The Babylonians believed that whatever a person did on the first day of the year had significant effects on their lives all year long. Without getting into heavy statistics, it’s a well-known fact that New Year’s resolutions have low success rates. Most people make them last-minute, moments before the countdown, and likely intoxicated. Some make them because they were pressured; many hang out with friends on New Year’s, and when one friend is vocal about their resolution, naturally, you’ll go around the circle and ask everyone what theirs is too.
The start of a new calendar year is the perfect time to spark change. We reflect on the year’s events that have passed, and our thoughts drift to what could have been. Sometimes we even think about how things could have been done better. A new year marks the revival and new beginning, promoting a ‘can do’ feeling of optimism.
I dive into New Year’s resolutions in my book, ‘Hold on please, Emily,’ where I explain that resolutions are like promises to ourselves. It’s a promise to improve our lives and to make the New Year a better one. So, doesn’t that mean that making a resolution is a good thing?
Honestly, I see resolutions as a sign of hope. Whether we can or cannot follow through on them, resolutions indicate that we have hope and a certain belief that we can facilitate change by becoming someone better or achieving something bigger.
Most people are excited and invigorated in January when they first made their resolutions. Still, once February comes along (sometimes even earlier), the majority of us may have abandoned our goals altogether. Now, most of our resolutions focus on improving ourselves, but why do so many of them plunder? That’s because resolutions are usually not specific; just like with goals, if they are vague, it’s harder for you to see the value of following through. Resolutions, like goals, need to be measurable and attainable so that you can see how being committed to them would greatly benefit you.
Why should we still make resolutions if we have a terrible track record?
The number one reason people do not make New Year’s resolutions is that they will fail to keep them. But, here’s why you should still make them:
- Making resolutions sets forth a personal challenge. Maintaining the status quo is nice, but challenging yourself helps you explore your untapped potential to help you continue growing as an individual.
- Since resolutions usually focus on self-improvement, even the fact that you’ve created a resolution shows that you’ve taken the time to reflect and evaluate your life. This same thought process is necessary for making career goals.
- Making resolutions signifies your desire to seek positive change. Even if you are unsuccessful in making the changes you’ve hoped to do, making a resolution at least helps you focus on what you want to change and may even help you think about what steps are necessary to achieve it.
Even if you may not be successful in achieving your resolution, those who make resolutions are more likely to achieve positive changes than people who never resolve to do so. As discussed above, creating a resolution means you’ve undergone self-reflection and, at least for that moment, was committed to doing the best you can to accomplish it.
Don’t be afraid to make some New Year’s resolutions this year. You’ll be surprised (and maybe impressed) a couple of months down the road at what a difference it can make in your life.