Pros & Cons of New Year’s Resolutions

I know a lot of people who are either strongly for or strongly against the idea of New Year’s resolutions. To be honest, I think that New Year’s resolutions are a lot like nutrition: they really need to be considered on an individual basis. There are definitely arguments on both sides, both of which I will touch on in this post. So keep reading!

The Pros

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Goals Are Great

I am a huge fan of goals. (And lists. I find those to be a huge help too.) Setting goals tends to lead to better outcomes, especially when you write them down. New Year’s resolutions are a great way to set a goal that’s really important to you.

Can Start Good Habits

New Year’s Resolutions are a great way to start some really good habits that you may not have been motivated to start at other points during the year. If there’s one thing that’s sure about New Year’s, it’s the fact that it’s one of the most motivational times of the year.

Promotes Self-Reflection

New Year’s is also a time when lots of people look back on the year that they’ve had. This is a great opportunity to do some self-reflecting. What are some things you liked about this year? What were you successful and happy with? On the other hand, what are some things that you think you should do differently this year? I love self-reflecting because it reminds me that I am in control of my own habits and happiness and I can change if I want to. This is really something that we should be doing all year round, but once a year is better than never!

We’re All In This Together

Another great thing about setting your goals over New Year’s is that everyone else is doing it too! It can be really motivational to work on a goal with others. Even if their goals are different from yours, knowing that you’re both making changes together can be really fun!

The Cons

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Often Unrealistic

A huge downfall of a lot of New Year’s resolutions is the fact that they are often unrealistic and unattainable. Don’t set yourself up for failure! Because people feel like they need to commit to this goal for a year, they tend to make it into this huge undertaking. Instead, you should start with a small goal, and adjust it as you go. You are much more likely to be successful this way.

Can Get Easily Discouraged

This one goes along with the fact that New Year’s resolutions are often unrealistic. Because they are so hard to follow through with, it is easy to fail, and therefore easy to get discouraged. A lot of the time, when this happens, people do not adjust their goals. Instead, they just give up and their habits either return to what they were or get even worse. The same solution can be applied as with the previous point. Setting small, realistic goals and adjusting them as you go is a much surer way to success. You should also be prepared for failures and have a plan for how to re-motivate yourself.

It’s Not For Everyone

Not everyone responds well to goals, especially when they seem so insurmountable. Some people respond better to other things, like simply keeping different food in the house or laying out workout clothes at night before bed. You may not want to set a goal and overwhelm yourself if you find that’s happened to you in the past.

Usually Not Well-Planned

Because New Year’s tends to creep up on people after the holidays, New Year’s resolutions are often hastily thought of. One thing that goals should not be is unplanned. It’s extremely important to plan out what achieving your goal will look like and prepare yourself for setbacks. Without this, failure and discouragement are much more likely.

Lots of Pressure

A year is kind of a long time… Especially when it comes to goals. There is a lot of pressure every day to keep going with your goal or you will have failed for the entire year.  When experiencing failures with their New Year’s resolutions, a lot of people feel like they’re done for the year and they’ll have to wait until next year to try again. This is obviously not the case. The idea of a New Year’s resolution can sometimes seem so absolute. But in reality, goals need to be slightly fluid if they are going to be beneficial.

In Conclusion

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While there are a lot of good things about New Year’s resolutions, there are a lot of ways they could go wrong and leave you worse off than before. It’s important to be familiar with yourself and your tendencies. How do you usually handle goals? Are you better off not setting any at all and finding a different way to change your habits? Basically, New Year’s resolutions need to be made on a case-by-case basis. Goals will not be the same for everyone, nor will the journey to achieving them. Know yourself, and set your goals accordingly. If you’re trying a New Year’s resolution this year, here are a few tips.

  • Be realistic.
  • Spend time planning.
  • Take baby steps and adjust your goals as you go.
  • Don’t beat yourself up when you have a setback.
  • Be prepared for failures, and be prepared to keep going.

Whether or not you’re setting a New Year’s resolution this year, take some time to reflect on the year behind us. Brainstorm the habits that you want to continue and the ones to leave in the past year. And go easy on yourself. Happy New Year!

6 responses to “Pros & Cons of New Year’s Resolutions”

  1. I agree with this post! I talk a lot about keeping goals realistic. I don’t set new year resolutions but instead set a mantra or focus. Last year my mantra was “let joy be my compass” and when I went to do anything, in order to know if I was staying on track I’d ask myself “does this bring me joy”.

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