January 10, 2019
With the start of each new year, creating New Year’s resolutions is a great way to continually push yourself to be the best person possible.
However, we all know that accomplishing our New Year’s resolutions can be difficult.
Why are the positive changes we want to make in our lives are so hard to accomplish? Mark Griffiths, professor of Behavioral Addicition at Nottingham Trent University offers an analysis. He notes that breaking habits takes time and dedication that often frustrates people when the effects of their efforts are not seen immediately. This is called the “False Hope Syndrome,” where people overestimate the speed, ease and amount of results they hope to see right away.
Griffiths also offers a few ways you can help yourself stick to those resolutions, including a resolution buddy, only choosing one resolution and being realistic about your expectations. Having a resolution buddy will keep you motivated and will hold you accountable in moments when you feel like giving up.Only making one resolution helps because you are able to devote more effort toward one substantial improvement. Being realistic about your goals and putting mechanisms in place to measure your progress avoids the “False Hope Syndrome.”The last, and most important aspect of choosing a New Year’s resolution you can stick to is being passionate about your pick.
Coming up with a change you care about can be difficult, so for those who do not have a New Year’s resolution yet, I offer my own: become your own best friend.
The relationship you have with yourself is the biggest predictor in your relationships with others, soloving yourself, enjoying your own company and treating yourself with kindness and respect will have substantial impacts not only on how you feel about yourself, but how you feel about others as well. Creating a more positive relationship with yourself will look different for every person.For some this may mean getting more sleep, partying less or seeing a therapist. For others this may mean allowing yourself more free time and listening to what your body needs.
Figuring out what it will take for you to create a healthier relationship with yourself is equally as important as choosing a resolution. This is because without specific, measurable ways of tracking progress, people usually give up on their resolutions.For me, this means learning to slowdown, listening to my body and having more patience. As someone who operates at a quick pace, I often skip over important moments in a rush to get to the next. By slowing down and gaining patience I will allow myself to live in all those wonderful moments along the way.
To make this mechanism a more concrete way of tracking my goal, I started a journal where I write down these new moments. I am also continuing with my yoga practice, which encourages focusing on the breath in order to slow down and recenter.
New Year’s resolutions are an amazing way to dedicate yourself to a lifetime of self-progress. So whether you choose to follow my resolution to become your own best friend or you pick your own, find away to stay motivated and track your progress, because there is not one of us out there who doesn’t stand to gain something by reflecting inward once a year and improving ourselves.
We should love and respect ourselves enough to give ourselves this gift of self-improvement at least once every year. Best of luck to everyone in 2019.
Sahale Greenwood is a sophomore political science and communication major.