The Nature of New Year’s Resolutions
The most popular New Year’s resolutions are about self improvement (living healthier 23% of people, getting happy 21%, losing weight 20%, exercising 7%, stopping smoking 5%, reducing drinking 2%). In addition, people resolve to meet career or job goals (16%) and improve their relationships (11%).
Despite their big plans though, only 8% of people will achieve their New Year’s resolutions. This is according to a study by the University of Scranton.
Why It’s Smart to Make New Year’s Resolutions
But all is not lost. Even if you don’t keep resolutions, it’s a really good idea to make them anyway. Here’s why.
#1 – Setting Intention
Being honest with yourself about your current condition and the distance to your preferred situation is key to improvement. Being intentional about how you want to grow and develop will help you achieve results. Just the act of setting positive intentions will contribute to your happiness and fulfillment. When you’re moving forward with clear direction, you make a positive contribution to your emotional and mental health.
#2 – Optimism and Expectations
Making New Year’s resolutions is inherently hopeful and optimistic. You are setting positive expectations. This positive view of the future, in turn, tends to motivate action. Without hope and positive expectations you aren’t inclined to believe the future will be better and more likely will not spend the time to better yourself or your community. Optimism can be extremely beneficial in this way—contributing to your own mental health, but also engaging you toward positive action which has an effect on those around you.
#3 – Responsibility
Most New Year’s resolutions have some impact on others. Even if they are about individual self-improvement, they affect families, friends, colleagues and communities. Your resolution to get healthy will keep you around longer for your family and friends. Your resolution to stop procrastinating will contribute to a positive team dynamic with your co-workers. And your plans to do more volunteer work at the community garden will help feed people in your locale. New Year’s resolutions are terrific ways to focus on yourself, but also to consider your broader responsibility—and to expand and multiply your positive effects on others.
#4 – Inspiration
When you seek to be better, do better or contribute more fully, you tend to inspire others as well. The primary way people learn is through experiencing the behavior of others. Even if they’re not consciously aware of it, people pick up on choices and cues from others—constantly. When you focus on the future and focus on improvement, you can positively inspire those around you.
When the ball drops at midnight this year, will you be ready to set your intentions? If you are motivated to achieve a shift in your mindset next year but need a little inspiration, check out these tips on creating lasting change from Tony Robbins. But know, even if you don’t keep every resolution you make, even just the act of making them and striving toward them can have a positive impact on your life and others!