Are New Year’s Resolutions Powerful or Pointless?
Almost every year of my adult life, I’ve started the New Year with a set of resolutions that I’ve been determined to keep. The results, predictably, have been variable.
In 2021, I mostly kept to my fitness goal of doing one 20-minute HIIT workout each day, but I failed miserably at my aim of quitting social media. According to my weekly screen-time reports, I still spend between two and three hours each day on my phone, much of that time doomscrolling.
I am far from alone in my determination to start each new year with a plan for self-improvement. At least a quarter of people typically make at least one New Year’s resolution, and a large portion of those good intentions end in disappointment.
For those who don’t follow this tradition, the very act of creating a New Year’s resolution can seem illogical. Rationally speaking, 1 January should be no better than any other day to make a life change – so why put the needless pressure on ourselves to ‘upgrade’ our lives at the opening of a new calendar?
Recent psychological research, however, suggests that there are many good reasons to begin a new regime on the first day of a new year. And by understanding and capitalising on those mechanisms, we can all increase our chances of sticking to our new goals for 2022.
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