• Maggie Dunsford

New Year, New Resolutions

It’s that time of year again! The holidays are winding down: candy canes are on sale, people are taking down their trees and decorations, and people are looking forward to the New Year. The New Year is supposed to be a blank slate, a time of reflection on the past year, the good and the bad. It’s a time of change and hope for things to come. A lot of us want to do much more than hope though: we want to see real change and be the driving force of that change. And so, every year, thousands of people make New Years Resolutions and decide this is the year I’m going to lose weight, pay off my loan debt, quit my job, etc.

Resolutions are great, in theory at least. Resolutions are obviously made with the best of intentions, but the vast majority of them fail before February is over. Research indicates that 80% of Resolutions made will fail, which can’t feel good. So what’s wrong with the resolutions we’re currently making? How can we make resolutions that stick?

One interesting thing I’ve noticed is that most resolutions are external, not internal goals. People want to lose weight, eat better, find love, make friends, etc. There’s something underlying all of these resolutions though, the idea that if I meet my goal, I will be happier. We imagine that if we lose those 10 pounds, we’ll be happier. If we find love, we’ll be happier. If we have more friends, we’ll be happier.

What if our resolutions focused on what’s going on internally though? What if we reframed out resolutions to changing something external to focusing more on our emotions. Losing weight is not inherently going to make you happy, ditto new friends, or new love. What if people who wanted to lose weight to feel better about themselves instead focused on feeling better about themselves as they were? What if all the people pining for love focused on enjoying all the perks of being single?

I think it’s easy to believe there are certain criteria we have to hit before we can be happy. And it’s easy to look at other people and compare our lives to theirs and think that others have a perfect life and want to emulate that. But change starts from within. And if you’re motivated to change for the wrong reasons, you likely won’t. And if you do, it won’t feel as good. Resolutions shouldn’t be for anyone else, they should be for you and your own fulfillment.

I’m not saying it’s inherently bad to want to change your external circumstances. Wanting to find love, to get better grades, to make more friends, and others are really admirable goals. I just think that asking yourself why you want to meet these particular goals is also important, and can serve you along the way. Maybe you are afraid of being single, maybe you equate your self-worth with your grades, and maybe you’re dealing with feelings of loneliness. That’s important to know before you embark on your resolution.

I want to see more resolutions in the future like being kind to yourself, showing yourself compassion, questioning negative thoughts, going to therapy, working on your body image, and finding joy in yourself just the way you are. These are the resolutions I think are really going to change the world.

Image Credit: https://denver.cbslocal.com/

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