The New Year is a great time for reflection and setting goals for the upcoming months. It's a great opportunity to practice awareness, cultivate hope and set a precedent for growth. There are a wide variety of New Year's Resolutions that are set although a large majority have to do with living healthier, improving relationships, or professional growth.
Many detractors of New Year's Resolutions mention the fact that according to a study from the University of Scranton only 8% of people achieve their New Year's Resolutions. However, even if resolutions aren't fulfilled, setting resolutions is an excellent way to cultivate skills that will inevitably affect how the year goes.
This blog post will cover five of the primary benefits of establishing New Year’s resolutions for yourself and how to harness those benefits even if you don't achieve your resolutions.
Even if you don't achieve any of the goals you set last year, or you don't go on to achieve the goals you set moving into the New Year, taking the time for reflection to set New Year's resolutions is worth the work alone.
Taking time to reflect helps to process all that has happened and allows your nervous system and subconscious brain to reconcile your experiences and emotions. Reflection also allows space for better awareness of reality and a more realistic understanding of what has brought you joy and what challenges you still have to overcome.
Reflection also helps us to identify areas for growth within ourselves and thus helps us to move forward with better-informed action.
Setting intentions help provide direction. By establishing New Year's Resolutions you are better able to recognize your intentions for the year moving forward. If achieving the resolutions becomes unattainable, at the very least one can direct their actions in alignment with the overall intention of the resolution. For example, if a person resolves to cycle for half an hour every day to increase cardiac endurance and leg strength, if a half hour becomes unachievable they can instead do ten minutes or go for a long hike as a way to move in the direction of their intention. Recognizing intention is a key ingredient when you practice setting goals and can have a more lasting impact than the goal as it provides a clear direction for action.
Goals empower people to recognize the agency they hold in their lives. New Year's resolutions can provide tremendous benefits to individuals looking to take control of their lives. By setting goals and following through with them, individuals can develop a sense of self-empowerment and practice agency over their lives.
Practicing agency is the practice of understanding that one has the power to create the life one wants to live and is an excellent way to promote self-esteem. Even if the goal isn't achieved, taking action towards a goal can create a positive feedback loop of empowerment that helps to provide energy and hope for the future. Cultivating agency is a powerful tool to strengthen mental resilience and foster positive mental health.
Setting resolutions and working towards them, especially with a friend or loved one, can provide a source of accountability. Accountability is important if a person hopes to make strides in their life as it provides an opportunity to strengthen willpower and consistency in action. Accountability can be a powerful tool for creating new habits and making a long-term change in your life.
The social support that comes with establishing an accountability partner can be a powerful motivator to achieve goals. An accountability partner doesn't have to have the same goals, just goals of their own that you can support as well. Accountability partners also help to recognize victories and reinforce wins!
By setting New Year's Resolutions you are prioritizing personal growth. Without goals or intentions, it's easy to get caught in the rush of life and realize that you haven't made any space for positive change. Without positive change, our personalities, lives, and bodies can become stagnant and that can build frustration, fatigue and a feeling of irrelevancy. Even if goals aren't achieved, setting goals allows us to recognize that we have the capacity to change for the better and that alone can be empowering and have positive lasting effects.