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  • Writer's pictureJunior Oliveira

​January is always a fresh start: Redefining your new year's resolutions

Updated: Mar 31, 2023

I think we can all agree that 2020 and 2021 were more challenging years than any of us would have liked. However, while the past 24 months may not have turned out the way we expected them to go, we've all learned a lot from them. Now, in January 2022, we have to be positive and repeat the mantra silently: "New is the year, are our hopes and our aspirations, New are our positive attitude and New are our resolutions". Ops, but philosophical thoughts come to mind when I think: why is it so hard to keep new year’s resolutions?

Every year with the most noble of my intentions, I promised myself to come up with proper resolutions that I could commit to improve myself. But sometimes it is really tough, I am sure you have been through this situation before. I think that New Year’s resolution is a really funny thing. We set them in a blast of positivism determined to turn ourselves into happier, shinier, better human beings, maybe wealthier or maybe thinner)- yet so often we just forget about them (80% of New Year’s resolutions are abandoned within a matter of weeks or months).

Why do many of us fail to carry out our New Year's resolutions for long?

I was reading about that, and most of the specialists say that a great part of New Year’s resolutions fail because soon, motivation weakens or ​unexpected ​events ​happen ​of people's lives, they distract them or take their focus away. Also, other specialists say that most of these resolutions fail because they’re not the right resolutions. And a resolution may be wrong for one of three main reasons (according to By Jen A. Miller - New York Times):​

  • ​It’s a resolution created based on what someone else (or society) is telling you to change.

  • It’s too vague.

  • ​​You don’t have a realistic plan for achieving your resolution.

​Does it sound familiar?​ ​ I ​agree with Miller, there's no single reason that most of us fail to stick to our New Year's resolutions. I think that it's a combination of factors,​ thus,​ before creating your NYR, try to reflect on these questions: “Do I really want this? Do I really want to give up this thing, or am I doing it because it’s expected? or Because of other people?" ​ ​Miller also states that our goals should be smart — and SMART. That’s an acronym coined in the journal Management Review in 1981 for specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound. It may work for management, but it can also work in setting your resolutions, too.

Also, I think that instead of creating a list of sub-tasks or a list of unreachable goals (as ur next New Year's resolutions) we should follow these pieces of advice given by the Psychologist Lissy Ann Puno: “Instead of New Year’s Resolutions, think about ‘intentional, consistent, mindful, and regular actions – this could mean daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly actions, whatever applies that will give you sustainable results,”.

New Years are great signposts for reflection, and in my opinion, it doesn’t represent a clean whiteboard or a "list of to do's"; it’s just a simple continuation of the last year. Don't be too hard with yourself, remember too that your goals will change as time goes on.​ Also, I would like to quote Arnaldo (2016) "There’s no timeline or deadline for your goals; what matters is going at your own pace and remembering that life isn’t a race​".​

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