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Are resolutions the way to go?

January 15, 2023

With the New Year being welcomed a little over a week ago, many have already thought about and/or are executing their resolutions. However, resolutions are not always completed and are often given up after some time. Is it useful for people to make resolutions for themselves?

A resolution is defined by Oxford Languages as “a firm decision to do or not do something.” These are typically made at the beginning of the year since it signals a new start. Some common resolutions are to lose weight, to improve mental health and to be a star-student. While these may seem harmless and a good way to reach goals, they are not ideal when trying to create a sustainable lifestyle. 

The reason that resolutions seldom succeed is because they are usually made as an absolute, meaning that one believes that they must complete it. Even though this provides motivation at the beginning, it slowly decreases as negative feelings are introduced since these resolutions are based on dissatisfaction with oneself. As time goes on to complete the resolution, feelings of anxiety and a lowered self-esteem become present. This not only harms one’s ability to finish the resolution but also their mental health. Also, resolutions can cause feelings of depression if one is put back. To expand, if one makes progress toward their resolution and for some reason is pushed back, they may feel unmotivated and worthless. 

Some tips to stick to New Year’s resolutions are to start with small goals, be realistic and stay positive. Starting with smaller goals are more realistic when trying to achieve something rather than trying to tackle the big picture. It adds consistency to one’s life thus building habits instead of doing something unattainable once and not doing it again. An example would be in order to attain better grades, study a portion of the curriculum each day rather than doing everything at once the day before the exam. It is also important to stay positive, despite any setbacks so that consistency can be built. This leads to a more successful attempt at completing resolutions.

As such, resolutions can be a good way to attain goals if approached in the right way. It is important to remember that looking at a resolution as something that must be completed is not healthy and harms mental health. Also being realistic with resolutions gives better chances for them to be successful. It is up to the individual to decide whether or not resolutions are something that can be achieved by them without harming their mental health. 

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