New Year’s Resolutions: Why It’s Okay To Have Them, and Break Them
By: Kylee Harris
Have you heard: “New year, new me!”? Or maybe something like “Cheers to a new year and another chance for us to get it right.” New Year’s resolutions can be a great way to keep yourself accountable for changes you’d like to make to your life or to reach goals that you’ve always wanted to achieve. But what happens when you make a New Year’s resolution and break it? Do you feel guilty? Does setting a goal for yourself and not achieving it mean you failed? It can feel like that sometimes for sure! But, it’s not always a bad thing to break your resolution. I offer to you, here, a perspective from the other side on why it is OKAY to break your resolutions, and how you can grow from it.
Some of America’s most popular resolutions include….
“Eating Healthier”, “Losing Weight”, “Spending Less Money”, and “Give Up A Habit”. These are all great ideas, but let’s talk about goals vs resolutions. A resolution is defined as “a statement of what you want to CHANGE” while a goal is “a statement of what you want to ACHIEVE”. Setting realistic expectations can help make a resolution possible. There’s a lot of pressure as each new year arrives for people to declare what they want from themselves and even more pressure to uphold it. Creating small goals that lead to a resolution can be a great way to grow. For example, instead of “my New Year’s resolution is to lose weight” try “My New Year’s goal is to start eating one healthy meal a day” or “My New Year’s goal is to start cooking healthy meals”. With your goals structured as small achievements, it creates a more positive, encouraging outcome for yourself.
If you did create a resolution, great! Some people want to hold themselves to that higher standard to purposefully pressure themselves into success and for some people it works. For others, that standard of promise is too high and can be anxiety inducing and encourage a depressive episode post “failed resolution” with a similar feeling to relapsing. It can be hard to upkeep a promise you’ve made to yourself, and letting yourself down on that promise can be frustrating, but I’m here to tell you that it’s okay. The first step to change is to try. Trying different methods and finding out some of them don’t work is still progress! You are still moving in the right direction. The only way you will not be successful is if you don’t try at all. Sometimes it takes people researching and using trial and error to find out what path will lead them to success the healthiest way. It’s also okay to reevaluate and set a smaller goal for yourself such as instead of “my resolution is to spend less money”, try “my goal is to budget each week” or “my goal is to save $50 from every paycheck”. Seeing these smaller goals achieved help make your success attainable and keep you positive and encourage you to set more goals.
Resolutions and goals have their individual standards reserved for the individual attempting to achieve them. The standard is what YOU set it as. You are in charge of your happiness and the ability to change your life for the better. Staying positive and communicating how you’re feeling is extremely important in the process of making any change. Talk to your friends, your family, and people with experience reaching individual goals and resolutions. Ask questions, and stay flexible. Remember that it’s okay to break down a resolution into smaller goals, and it’s okay through trial and error to find out what works for you. It doesn’t mean you’ve failed, it just means there’s another path to take.