Why do we make New Year resolutions?
It’s probably a uniquely human trait to self reflect. Dogs certainly don’t lose sleep over the amount of holes they dug in the garden this year, and a bird doesn’t resolve to find the perfect mate and a nest with beach frontage next year.
Whether it’s at the beginning of the year or not, we often look back, wondering what we could have done better, and how we can improve our time ahead. That self-awareness, that makes facing resolutions and setting goals a little scary for some of us, is the same trait that can help us. Recognising real goals and improvements should make us proud upon reflection. And yes, sometimes it’s uncomfortable to go there.
© 2012-2015 MartaSyrko
So why do we break our resolutions?
Everyone is different!
Jess prefers goal setting instead of prescriptive do’s and don’ts:
“Honestly I don’t do New Year resolutions, I used to do them but I never stuck to them! I believe in setting goals, that’s about it. I set a few goals for the year and try my best”.
Christina is happy to report she kept one of her resolutions this year:
“I stuck to my New Year resolution of traveling, I went overseas for the first time this year and have booked my next trip already!”
In 2015, Christina wants to test her limits by putting herself right out of her comfort zone.
And Emily admits that one of the main reasons she hasn’t stuck to previous years resolutions (like many of us) is that she’s forgotten them!
“My New Year resolution is to meet new people and make new friendships”.
We make rules without a game plan
There is a lot of literature and general hype over New Years resolutions – how to make “This year YOUR year”. After a quick survey of popular New Years resolutions, we noticed the most common promises are basically all behaviour focused.
- “Lose weight in the New Year”,
- “Stop biting my nails”,
- “Save Money”,
- “Stress less”,
- “Get a boyfriend, girlfriend/partner”,
- “Quit Smoking”,
- “Learn Something New”,
- “Spend More Time with Family”,
- (And of course the next morning) “Never drink again!”
Are amongst the most forgotten and unachieved resolutions according to Time Magazine.
This sort of goal setting can be less helpful. It’s like seeing the ingredients without the method. Social worker, Clickability entrepreneur and friend of Je'Suis Aviva Beecher Kelk explains most behaviour is intrinsically linked to our core beliefs. So it’s more helpful to reinforce beliefs that encourage healthy behaviours.
How to keep your resolutions (it takes work!)
The beliefs we have about ourselves, other people and the world influence our behaviours. If so, it follows that if we change our beliefs we change our behaviours; changed behaviours lead to different outcomes in one’s life! Aka New years Resolutions!
So instead of “lose 5kg this year”, a better belief to reinforce for the New Year would be “I am worthy of feeling my best, and this will make life easier and happier for me”.
This belief has plenty of behaviours to match:
- Good nutrition (Having breakfast, drinking lots of water),
- Regular exercise (If you embrace this belief fully, exercise will feel more like a treat for you),
- Timely doctors visits (You deserve to be at your best! Nagging pain? Don’t ignore it),
- Avoid excess (Drinking and other vices are momentary pleasures)
This is an abridged version of Forbes Golden Rules on Living the Good Life. We have deconstructed the goals and added beliefs and behaviours. We encourage you to create your own!
1. Examine life, engage in life with vengeance
Belief: “Life is a gift to relish!”
- Join a club,
- Start a list of books to read,
- Ask questions,
- Go to museums, galleries, and public talks,
© 2012-2015 MartaSyrko
2. Worry only about the things that are in your control
Belief: “Stress does not solve my problems.”
- Avoid gossip,
- Write lists,
- Try not to think too much about what others think of you,
- Take action when something is worrying you,
- Ask advice, and listen to it.
© 2012-2015 MartaSyrko
3. Treasure Friendship.
Belief: “Friendship is important. I can be a good friend. I am likeable”.
- Be on time,
- Keep appointments,
- Keep in touch,
- Listen more.
© 2008-2015 ollaaa
4. Experience True Pleasure. Keep your life simple.
Beliefs: “I deserve to be happy and happiness and calmness is achievable. Calming pleasures contribute to peace of mind”.
- Wake up early,
- Smile at a stranger,
- Enjoy good food and laughter,
- Walk barefoot in the grass.
© 2012-2015 skdennard
5. Master Yourself.
Belief: “I am responsible for my actions”.
- Stop the blame shifting for your errors and shortcomings,
- Laugh at yourself,
- Write a list of things you would like to improve about yourself,
- Forgive someone,
- Return to a task you gave up on.
© 2012-2015 GretaTu
6. Avoid Excess. Live life in harmony and balance.
Belief: “I don’t need to have everything to be happy”
- Share your possessions,
- Help a friend move,
- Donate your time or money,
- Stop eating before you are full.
© 2012-2015 belo4ka
7. Don’t Be a Prosperous Fool.
Belief: “Money is a necessary but not a sufficient condition for the good life, for happiness and wisdom”.
- Consider how much of your time needs to be spent working,
- Spend your money wisely,
- Write a list of things you want to save for,
- Stop to appreciate your employment!
© 2011-2015 LukasSowada
8. Don’t Do Evil to Others.
Evildoing is a dangerous habit, a kind of reflex too quickly resorted to and too easily justified.
Belief: “Harming others claims two victims - the receiver of the harm, and the victimizer, the one who does harm (myself)”.
- Offer a solution,
- Count to three before acting when upset,
- Try to think how you would feel if the role was reversed.
© 2009-2015 WildRainOfIceAndFire
9. Kindness towards others is rewarded. Kindness to others is a good habit that supports and reinforces the quest for the good life.
Belief: “Helping others bestows a sense of satisfaction that has two beneficiaries - the receiver of the help and the one who provides the help”.
- Share a book,
- Teach someone a skill you find easy,
- Meet your neighbours and identify those vulnerable such as the elderly, new mothers and persons with disabilities,
- Offer your able-ness to those who aren’t able.
© 2012-2015 MartaSyrko
Far be it from us to write your goals for you this year! But instead of setting yourself up with a random bunch of ingredients of “do’s” and “don’ts”, consider writing yourself some realistic and healthy beliefs or goals for the New Year. Writing them down also helps commit them to memory!
Do you have any advice for those of us who struggle to keep New Years Resolutions? Do you think they are helpful at all? Maybe you think it’s easier to just soldier on? What are your goals for 2015? We would love to hear from you on Facebook or Twitter.
We hope you have a great New Year and we will see you in the salon soon.