By Emma Jones
There have been plenty of opinions expressed about New Year’s resolutions over the years — but love them or hate them, find them effective or not, you can’t deny that individuals in our society like making goals for ourselves to give us a sense of accomplishment. And the new year provides a perfect setting for this. This major shift as we progress another year forward often gives us the motivation to want to better ourselves.
A study done by BBC Worklife showed that 35% of people who made resolutions managed to stick to all their goals, and 50% of people managed to keep at least some of their resolutions. That’s a pretty good percentage of people who are working toward and achieving positive changes in their lives, even if they don’t meet all their goals. The BBC study also found that the way resolutions are framed could make an important difference on if they are achieved. When splitting the intentions into “avoidance goals,” which involve quitting something (like sweets or coffee or social media), and “approach goals,” which involve adopting a new habit, on average, approach goals were 25% more likely to be met than avoidance goals.
I’ve made lists of resolutions over the years for myself, but more often than not they are hung up somewhere in my room and then promptly forgotten about until December when I am attempting to recall what I accomplished that year. I am looking at my resolutions for 2022 as I write this; I’ve accomplished four out of the eight goals I set for myself, which is not terrible, but certainly no passing grade if that sort of thing existed for resolutions.
This year I set out to do my resolutions a little differently. I intentionally didn’t make a list of things that I will beat myself up over if I do not achieve: these so-called avoidance goals, things like “stop biting my nails this year” or “lose weight” or “make all A’s this semester.” I wanted to shoot for approach goals, things that will encourage and better me in the long run, like “read at least a book a month” or “develop a new creative hobby” or “learn how to cook better.”
Don’t let the time frame of the new year get in your way of making resolutions, however. Yes, this is a very symbolic time of new beginnings, which makes it inspirational to make changes, but if you want to see improvement in an area of your life, make that change whenever you want. It’s important that we are setting goals to strive and better ourselves every month of the year, not just in January.