Why bother with NY resolutions?

Resolutions, Jasmin Elliott, New years

So I know there’s going to be tonnes of this around today and tomorrow but I thought I’d add my 2 cents. A good friend of mine asked if I had any “New Years Resolutions this year”.

I don’t like New Years Resolutions for a few reasons but the main one is they just don’t work. It’s the annual equivalent of “diet starts Monday”. As a goal is assigned a start time the motivation for that goal tends to surround that same time as well. As it gets closer we build ourselves up, “yea I’m going to do this” etc. When the time comes we may even take some steps towards whatever the goal may be e.g. joining a gym. But as we move through that moment in time of peak motivation, if the goal is not aligned with our core values and is instead based on societal norms or expectations, then that motivation gradually slips further and further away as does the “new year”.

It should come as no surprise that only 8% of New Year’s resolutioners are successful in their behaviour change ventures. 92% “fail”…. But are we surprised? Or is setting resolutions just a tokenistic ritual hangover from the past? Is there a better way?

Everyone wants to be happy right? I’m a firm believer that happiness is held within living to ones own core values. When we stray or are forced to operate outside of what we value and/or are passionate about we lose our happiness. So instead of setting a start time why don’t we have ideals that we are constantly working towards?

“I’m going to constantly strive to live closer to my core values”

“I’m going to do things that add value to my life”

“I’m going to choose experiences over objects”

The main reason we don’t do this already is that we don’t know ourselves very well. How many of us have actually sat and reflected or explored what our core values actually are? How many of us have taken the time to understand how these values came to be constructed in our own psyche? And how many of us took the time to understand the underpinnings of motivation and how our own values underpin our motivation? I know a few within my circles but in the general population I’d say the number was very very low.

So rather then going through the motions with a 92% useless tradition, do something meaningful. Explore you’re core values for a while. Find what makes you tick. Get to know yourself. Then you can learn to live for yourself and your happiness.

“You only have the present… Past and future don’t exist” (Jasmin Elliott, 2015)

Happy New Year everyone

Keep Occupied


One thought on “Why bother with NY resolutions?

  1. Hi Brock,

    Was looking to find a decent OT podcast and yours had been the resounding winner! Also am enjoying the blog. I am an overly enthusiastic second year OT student in the UK baby!!

    A little late for this comment, but one thing that really struck me this year about new year’s resolutions is that they are completely inappropriately timed. At New Year, there’s still loads of holiday food around, you’re still meeting up with people who aren’t back to work/uni yet. In the UK, it’s pretty cold and miserable at this time of year and it should be a time for hunkering down and being comfortable and cosy.

    I guess when considering it from an OT perspective, you have to make goals achievable and reasonable for the individual. New year’s resolutions do not work for me personally. I feel that Easter/lent would be a better time to knuckle down and kick some (metaphorical) butt! Anyway, that’s my two cents on the subject!

    Keep up the awesomeness Brock 🙂


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