By now, have your new year resolutions gone out the window? Every year, society reminds us that it is a new year and things must change. With the new year comes the tradition of coming up with new year resolutions. Where did this tradition come from? Over 4000 years ago, the ancient Babylonians were said to be the first to celebrate making new year’s resolutions and since then it has become a yearly tradition. Do you find yourself doing things because everyone else is doing them? Do you value new year’s resolutions? Do they actually lead to impactful changes in your life? Let’s say you decide to make a new year’s resolution and within two weeks to a month, it’s like it never existed. Has that happened to you? We know that it takes at least 4 weeks to develop a new habit.
Let’s consider the mental impact of making new year’s resolutions. When we make a decision to change a behavior to an extreme degree, it invites stress into our life. What can you do to not fall into this trap? You can still create goals, we all strive to be better each year but make realistic goals. What do you want to do better than last year? What goals do you want to reach by the end of the year, not just in 1-3 months? It is also important that you recognize that you have worth as a person even if you don’t achieve your resolutions. You are no less worthy as a person if you don’t lose that weight or get that raise or buy a new house. It might also be helpful to think about intentions you set as a theme for the year such as self-compassion or empathy. This provides you with some guidance but is not going to initiate your stress response.