Cheers to New Year’s resolutions

Debbie Jacob -
Debbie Jacob -

Debbie Jacob

NEW YEAR’S resolutions...they’re fun to make and a pain to keep. Is anyone getting better at keeping their resolutions? People in the US are having greater success. A new survey from Forbes Health that polled 1,005 US adults examined Americans’ attitudes toward making New Year’s resolutions and found people were more committed to following them.

In the past, exercise and physical health had been a priority, but now researchers say one of the top resolutions – especially among young people – is mental health. Losing weight and improving physical health are right up there near the top.

Of those who participated in the Forbes survey, 29 per cent said they felt pressured to make New Year’s resolutions and Generation Z (those born after 1997 and make up a more diversified ethnic population) felt the most pressure.

Men surveyed felt more pressured to make resolutions (35 per cent) than women (28 per cent). Women were more likely than men to put mental health as a resolution (47 per cent compared to 40 per cent), while men chose goals like diet and fitness.

Several articles show there is a lot more thought going into how to make resolutions more achievable. About 81 per cent of respondents felt confident they could achieve their resolutions if they could address self-control and achieve discipline.

Researchers say proper planning and the resolve to face the tough times prove necessary for sustaining successful New Year’s resolutions. So New Year’s resolutions have become an exercise in planning.

Harvard Medical and Colorado State University suggest having a support system in place, breaking down your goals into incremental steps, learning from past mistakes, tracking your progress and rewarding yourself intermittently. Of course, you need a positive attitude too. You have to believe that well-thought-out resolutions will work and accept setbacks as part of the process.

New Year’s resolutions can be a tough challenge because they target long-term goals. That’s not something we have much experience with in this push-button age with fast-paced internet and instant gratification.

If you need ideas for goals, the US magazine Good Housekeeping has 65 achievable goals to choose from. They all have measurables to prove your success. Heading the list is the resolution to keep a gratitude journal.

Mental health experts say writing gratification journals in the evening helps us to put each day in perspective. They lift our spirits, calm us down while we prepare for sleep and help to improve mental cognition. We are exercising our memory every day with a gratitude journal and that could help us to fight mental decline in ageing.

Gone are the days of immeasurable and vague resolutions like exercising more or losing weight. Now, goals are broader and more open-ended. If you have a resolution of spending more quality family time, you have to define how that looks. It could include cooking meals together once a week, reading together every night, having puzzle or game nights, hiking or exploring TT on the weekends.

Each one of the Good Housekeeping suggestions comes with links that help you add meaningful dimensions to your resolutions. Check the magazine’s advice at this link:

New Year’s resolutions are now more open to exploring options than sticking to one choice. Take, for instance, planning a vacation. For months you can research the cheapest and best vacation plans, narrow the options down to one and then look for the cheapest air fares and hotels. Planning is a process that qualifies for success in this resolution.

Some options are simple, direct and highly achievable – like a resolution to make your bed every morning. Much has been written about how this sets your mood and helps to propel you into a better organised day.

A resolution to give yourself more compliments helps to build confidence and self-esteem. Tracking those compliments can show how your self-nurturing progresses over the year. It’s also a lesson in organising data.

You can mix and match an easy resolution with a more complex one, but all experts say the trick is to limit your resolutions to what is achievable. It’s better to have one good resolution than ten complex ones you can’t follow.

Resolutions can teach us a lot about ourselves. If your resolution is to drink more water every day and your research shows you should be drinking nine eight-ounce glasses of water a day, what does your tracking show you about the days you fall short of your goal?

New Year’s resolutions provide an opportunity for self-improvement, developing organisational skills and long-term goals. They can make a year more memorable and successful.

Good luck in making your resolutions.


"Cheers to New Year’s resolutions"

More in this section