New Year’s Resolutions: Fad, or Guidance Tool?

New Year's goals with gold color decorations. New Year’s goals are resolutions or promises that people make for the New Year to make their upcoming year better in some way.

It’s that time of year again where we are all encouraged to promise that we will be better people over the next 12 months: get fit, lose weight, stop smoking, move to a better job, find a partner etc etc…. We also all know those people who will use that sparkly new gym membership for around a month (6 weeks if they really try) then give up and never set foot in the place again. But what if there is a reason that New Year’s Resolutions can be so hard to keep?

Fad or Guidance Tool?

New Year is a wonderful opportunity to reflect on the previous twelve months and assess our hopes for the year ahead. It’s a unique, almost singular, moment in time when we have the chance to honestly assess ourselves in the relaxed state that the two weeks of festivities brings without feeling unfairly judged. However, it is also a time where we can dream big and set ourselves targets that may not always be achievable. For this reason the tradition could perhaps benefit from being renamed New Year’s Focus, or New Year’s Plan, as this is a much more beneficial and achievable approach to setting targets for the year ahead.

So, for all those who partake in the tradition, here are some suggestions that may help you meet the “resolutions” you are setting yourself:

  1. Categorise your targets.

    There are so many different areas of life that you may feel the need to improve. Categorise those areas and set achievable targets within them, keeping your focus on how that area of your life will be improved. For example; fitness and quitting smoking fit into your general well-being, but renovating your bedroom fits into both wellbeing and home improvement and is a longer-term target.

  2. Timescale.

    Set timescales for each target that will be achievable. It is unlikely you will get fighting fit or learn to do the splits in 1 month, try as you might, and putting vast amounts of pressure on yourself to achieve it will only make it more difficult, less enjoyable and more likely that you will quit to save yourself the stress.

  3. Remember the long term.

    Some resolutions will have affects that are felt long into the future as well as right now, and some will take more than a year to achieve. When setting targets, deliberately set some that are a long-term benefit, and some that will need a longer timescale: for example, learning to drive and moving house.

  4. Partner up.

    Find someone who wants to achieve a similar thing to you, and pair up. If you are in it together, you are both more likely to achieve your goal as you will each have a vested interest and someone to keep pushing you along. This is especially beneficial for things like having a better diet or taking up a new sport.

  5. Remember to benefit yourself.

    This time of year is a fantastic opportunity to learn how to look after yourself as an entire person, not just the stereotypical things such as diet and fitness. Remember to look after your mental, spiritual and social wellbeing as well as your physical wellbeing: now may be the perfect time to learn to meditate, set aside five minutes every day just for yourself, or get a plant to nurture.

Most of all, don’t be afraid to adjust your targets if they are becoming unachievable, and always add new goals as you move through the year: setting one little task every day can get a lot of things done!

Spiritual New Year

Happy New Year from all at The Spiritualist! Wishing you all the best for the future.