New Year’s Resolutions: What to think about before you make them

new year's resolutions

The New Year’s resolutions tradition is a great way to start the New Year with renewed commitment and motivation. It can also be a positive and meaningful way to reflect on past experiences and set goals for the future.

Today, many people make New Year’s resolutions to improve their lives or personal habits. They often aim to achieve tangible goals such as weight loss, quitting smoking, learning a new language, or taking up a hobby. They are also commonly used as an opportunity to practice self-care and prioritise mental health by setting intentions for the New Year.

Where did New Year’s resolutions come from?

The tradition of New Year’s resolutions is thought to have originated in ancient Babylon around 4,000 years ago. The ancient Babylonians made promises to their gods at the start of each new year that they would return borrowed objects and pay their debts. This was believed to result in a fresh start for the New Year with no lingering resentments from past wrongs.

The tradition has continued throughout history, with ancient Romans making promises of good conduct to Janus, the god of beginnings, during New Year’s festivities. The practice also spread to Europe in Medieval times and has regained popularity in recent years.

What are the top 5 New Year’s Resolutions?

What are the top 5 New Year's Resolutions?

Statista’s Global Consumer Survey revealed that nearly 4 in 10 U.S. citizens made resolutions for 2022 – with an emphasis placed firmly upon health goals. From exercising more to eating healthier and shedding some pounds, these aspirations reveal a collective commitment toward achieving well-being for a new year.

For many of us, the days of overindulging in social media seem to be waning. In stark contrast from just a few years ago, one out of five now reports wishing for less time on screen engaging with their feeds and friends. Has peak digital connection come and gone? We’ll find out if 2023 gets even less pixelated as this downward trajectory continues.

Here are the top five New Year’s Resolutions according to Statista’s Global Consumer Survey for 2022:

  • To exercise more, 48%
  • To eat healthier, 44%
  • To lose weight, 41%
  • To spend more time with family/friends, 34%
  • To live more economically, 24%

The best way to keep New Year’s Resolutions

study conducted in 2022 on over 1000 participants, revealed that those who set goals focused on taking positive action were significantly more likely to achieve their resolutions a year later than those setting goals based on avoiding negative outcomes. Over the course of 12 months, almost 60 per cent with approach-oriented objectives felt they had succeeded compared to less than 50 per cent for avoidance-based ones.

Evidence suggests that visualising success and a positive outcome of your goals can be effective. Usually, we are advised to set realistic goals for our New Year’s resolutions, leading us to limit our dreams from the start. How you talk to yourself matters also when it comes to New Year’s Resolutions.

Like any other goals, success with New Year’s resolutions is about working hard to keep your dreams alive. It’s not just something you can do at the beginning of the year and think that success will come naturally. You have to work out a strategy and monitor your progress continually throughout the year.

Read more: Get successful with these tools

Prepare with the right tools

According to recent research, brain activity has been found to be significantly higher among those who write manually on physical paper than with electronic devices. Scientists believe this is due to tactile information and spatial recognition yielded from pen-to-paper interaction.

Handwritten notes are becoming increasingly scarce, yet researchers believe that paper notebooks still provide a more rich and meaningful experience than digital tablets. With physical paper, the permanence of your thoughts is tangible with irregular strokes and folded corners which can’t be replicated by scrolling through an app on a tablet before having to save it or risk losing all your work.

In other words, it might be a good idea to invest in a good notebook and quality pen if you want to keep track of your progress.

best notebooks for New Year's resolutions

Get the routines right

Too little is said about the importance of routines for success. This is also true for success with your New Year’s resolutions. In most cases, it’s about showing up every day whether you have the motivation or not.

It’s often said that it takes 21 days to form a new habit, but research suggests otherwise. A 2009 study published in the European Journal of Social Psychology determined that this process can take anywhere from 18-254 days – with 66 being the average amount needed for any given behavior to become second nature.

You may need to spend a little extra time forming your new habits before they become part of your new life. If you are serious about your New Year’s Resolutions you have to be prepared to plan long-term and have a plan for how to overcome difficulties and setbacks. We all have setbacks, it’s how you react to them that ultimately decide your success.

quotes about habits

What time of day do you work best? Put in the tasks that require the most willpower during the time of day when you work best. If you are a morning person and one of your New Year’s resolutions is to start exercising, it’s a good idea to put exercise as the first thing to tackle each day.

An analysis of successful artists in the book Daily Rituals shows that most of the people mentioned had strictly elaborated daily routines for their lives. Therefore, if you want to succeed with your New Year’s resolutions, you too should make sure to set clear guidelines on how to achieve your goals.

Benjamin Franklin Routines

In the autobiography of Benjamin Franklin, we can see that he used strict daily routines to achieve his goals. Unfortunately, few people today have any kind of detailed plans or strategies for how to achieve goals, which may go some way to explaining why we are more confused than ever about what we want out of life.

New Year's Resolutions

In the book Personal Efficiency from 1920, James Samuel Knox offers us an example of how we easily can visualize our daily routines. For a person going to work, he calls the four hours in the evening when most people have some own-time “Period of Destiny”. That is the time when many of us choose to check Netflix or scroll on our phones, when it would many times be wiser to work on our goals.

In other words, routines are crucial and often success or failure can be traced to how we choose to spend our days. Don’t be so hard on yourself if you are sometimes forced to deviate from set routines. But you do need some kind of overall plan for how to live to put yourself in the best possible position to succeed.

Frequently asked questions about New Year’s resolutions

What are some good New Year’s resolutions?

New Year’s resolutions are essential for setting goals and establishing a plan to strive for self-improvement. Good New Year’s resolutions can include:
– Committing to regular exercise
– Taking up a new hobby
– Learning a new skill
– Spending more time with family and friends
– Reducing daily stress levels or focusing on personal development
Whatever you decide on, they should be measurable so that progress can be tracked throughout the year. With commitment and dedication, New Year’s resolutions can help to unlock your greatest potential.

How can I stick to my New Year’s resolutions?

Sticking to New Year’s resolutions is a difficult challenge for many people. However, it can be done by setting inspiring goals and breaking them down into smaller, manageable tasks. 
Developing an effective plan incorporating motivation, accountability and support systems can help you stay on track and achieve your goals.
Additionally, aiming for incremental progress over time can help ensure that you consistently make improvements and reach milestones. By following these guidelines, you can ensure that you stick to your New Year’s resolutions.

What are some common New Year’s resolutions?

Common New Year’s resolutions include exercising more, eating healthier, saving money, and spending more time with family. 
Other popular resolutions are to reduce stress and anxiety, quit smoking, get organised, enjoy life more, and make new friends. 
People also often create New Year’s resolutions related to advancing their careers, such as learning new skills or seeking a promotion. New Year’s resolutions can vary significantly from individual to individual but often have one common goal: making positive life changes.

What are some things to avoid when making New Year’s resolutions?

The most common advice we get when making New Year’s resolutions is not to have too ambitious goals, risking to setting ourselves up for failure. There may be more important things to consider in this context. 
The most important thing is to focus on your interests and needs and avoid comparing yourself to others, as this can lead to feelings of inadequacy or discouragement. 

What are some alternative, creative and fun ways to make a New Year’s resolution?

Some alternative, creative and fun ways to make New Year’s Resolutions could include:
-Reading a new book every month 
-Starting a budgeting system to help stay on track financially
-Volunteering for a local organisation or cause
-Exploring a new place
-Learning a new skill or hobby
-Making time for self-care
-Focusing on personal growth
Whatever resolution you choose, make sure it’s meaningful for you.

Do New Year’s resolutions work?

With proper planning and commitment, New Year’s resolutions can help individuals achieve the desired outcomes. 
It is important to remember that it requires diligent effort and dedication in order to be successful. New Year’s resolutions are not a guarantee of success, but they can help individuals stay focused and motivated to reach their goals.
With proper planning and dedication, New Year’s resolutions can be an effective tool for achieving personal goals.

Why do New Year’s Resolutions fail?

New Year’s resolutions often fail because of a lack of accountability, unrealistic expectations, and insufficient planning. It can be difficult to stay committed to resolutions without proper tracking and motivation. 
They can also be made without a clear action plan, making it difficult to take the steps necessary to achieve them. All of these factors can contribute to failing.
It is important to create a system of accountability, such as enlisting the help of friends and family members or joining a New Year’s resolution support group. Lastly, being patient and consistent in making New Year’s resolutions successful is essential. 

Which New Year’s Resolution is best?

The best New Year’s resolution is the one you can commit to and stick to, making it a part of your lifestyle. 
They should be tailored to the individual, as everyone has different aspirations and goals in life. A New Year’s resolution should be specific to the individual and can range from learning a new skill or language to spending more quality time with family and friends.  

Why it is important to have a measurable New Year’s Resolution

Having a measurable New Year’s resolution allows you to track your progress and makes it easier to stay focused on achieving your goals. 
It also serves as a reminder of what you want to achieve, providing a sense of accomplishment when you reach your goals. Ultimately, having a measurable goal is essential for helping you stay on track and make the most of the New Year.
Break them down into small achievable goals and track your progress. Use a diary, journal or calendar to note the milestones you have achieved and stay motivated as you reach your resolutions.
Set aside time each week to review your progress and celebrate your successes in reaching them.
It is also good to be flexible and allow yourself some leeway if you don’t meet your goals as expected.

Are New Year’s Resolutions effective?

New Year’s resolutions can be effective, depending on the individual. For some people, the New Year is a chance to set goals and develop healthy habits that can lead to lasting results. 
However, it is crucial to remain committed to achieving success. Those who have a plan and stick to it can find New Year’s resolutions to be an effective way of creating positive change in their lives.

What are the best New Year’s Resolutions to better yourself? 

The New Year is an excellent time for setting New Year’s Resolutions to help improve yourself and your life. Some of the best resolutions for self-improvement include setting and working towards achievable goals, developing healthy habits such as regular exercise and getting enough rest, making time for meaningful relationships and activities, practising self-care and mindfulness, and taking steps to reduce stress. By making New Year’s Resolutions that focus on self-improvement, you can make small changes that can impact your life.

What are some tips for making New Year’s resolutions?

To make New Year’s resolutions that will be successful, it is important to make specific and achievable goals. Break down the goal into smaller steps that can be achieved over a longer period of time. 
Additionally, it is helpful to create a timeline for each goal and set up rewards for yourself when you achieve them. Keeping track of progress will help keep you motivated and on track. They can be a powerful tool to help achieve your goals, but they require planning and dedication to be successful.

What New Year’s Resolutions do you make?

Give your answers in the comments below!

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