Nearly half of Americans make resolutions every New Year in the hopes of changing for the better, typically by improving themselves or their relationships in some form or another. Many contend to lose weight, save money, learn a new skill or have a new experience, while others plan to spend more time with their families or fall in love.
The thing is, less than half of people that make resolutions maintain them after six months and a mere 8% actually achieve them by the end of the year (Diamond, 2013). That being said, resolutions are not frivolous. According to the University of Scranton, just by setting goals you are ten times more likely to achieve them. Thus, having good intentions or targets to be met in the New Year, whether you make formal holiday “resolutions” or not, may be the first step to a “new,” or simply more content, you. The following lists simple ways to make changes for the better and celebrate the New Year right.
Something that makes people anxious at the end of a year, and most marks of time, is the idea that they’ve missed out or “lost” time somehow. But what is Time? The truth is, Time itself is a man-made concept. The calendar and the clock as we know it have had so many forms and errors over the course of history, that it could only have been created by humans, when you think about it. For instance, October (with the prefix “Octo,” meaning eight) was the eighth month of the year until Julius and Augustus Ceasar arrived on the scene and created “July” and “August”—after themselves, of course. The Mayan calendar, and it’s looming “End of Days” predicted to have begun in 2012, we can all agree now, was definitely wrong. Moreover, The “New Year” as we celebrate it on January 1st is limited to the Roman Calendar, as there are number of New Years according to different cultures and religions across the world that occur otherwise.
In short, don’t sweat it. If you really want to do something, you should do it, but there’s no reason this relative mark in time should cause you anxiety. The bottom line is, when people truly desire to accomplish or change something, and resolutely commit to do so, they tend to do it.
Count Your Blessings
Something a lot of people fail to do is take a deep breath and reflect on what they already have at New Years. Americans, in general, hold themselves to high standards and dream big, which is wonderful, but what can be missing at times is gratefulness. So, count your blessings before you decide on your next move. Sometimes we forget how lucky we are to have things as seemingly basic as our health and loved ones. Even our cultural sense of opportunity is something we forget to be thankful for; we should remind ourselves that fortune is not always measured in wealth. Congratulate yourself for what you did do, let go of what may have gone wrong or what you didn’t get done, and be grateful for what you already have before you embark on the road of more and self-improvement.
Set Real Resolutions
If you find yourself among the half of Americans that does make New Year’s Resolutions, try to keep them both simple and possible. So, instead of saying you’ll lose 60 pounds and meet the love of your life this year, try instead to make your goal something like getting to the gym three times a week and going on more dates. The more realistic your goals, the more likely you are to achieve them. The second thing you should do is follow through! Trust your own abilities, and avoid the self-fulfilling prophecy of failure and negativity. You have to believe you can do what you’ve set out to do in order to accomplish anything. In other words, just go for it.
When you toast your drink—alcoholic or not—at midnight and think about the year to come on the 1st, consider something, are you celebrating what’s already happened or what’s to come? Is it all about you or about greater Life and the world as you know it? If that’s too much to contemplate, American business-management guru Tom Peters gives some good advice: “Celebrate what you want to see more of…”
- Diamond, D. (2013). Just 8% of People Achieve their New Year’s Resolution. Here’s How They Do It.
- Forbes. Retrieved From: http://www.forbes.com/sites/dandiamond/2013/01/01/just-8-of-people-achieve-their-new-years-resolutions-heres-how-they-did-it/