We are only days into 2023 and diets are already being dropped, daily exercise is being abandoned and many of us are already feeling the overwhelming guilt of not sticking to our resolutions.
As usual, the phrase ‘new year, new me’ has appeared an alarming number of times in the last few days. It’s as if saying the phrase is going to magically sort my life out. Personally, I have a complicated relationship with the idea. Although I understand that it stems from societal pressures, I do appreciate the idea that there is opportunity to turn over a new leaf.
Why do we make resolutions?
However, what I learned in 2022 was to be realistic about the goals I set myself. Putting this into practise, I decided not to make any resolutions this year. From conversations with family and friends, not many of their resolutions even make it past January. So, why do we still make them?
Having spent the entirety of the past week scrolling through everyone’s annual round-up posts, I can’t shake the lasting feeling that I didn’t achieve what I needed to in 2022. Between these social media posts and the blatant advertising of diet brand and ‘wellbeing’ companies, it’s hard not to think about how you’re going to reinvent yourself in the new year.
How about you?
If you have adopted the ‘new year, new me’ attitude, and you did make resolutions: How is it working out for you so far? Have they lasted the first few days of January?
If yes, do you think you will be able to continue?
If no, what can you do to make them more realistic?
At the end of 2017, Stockholm University conducted a study, differentiating between ‘avoidance goals’ and ‘approach goals’. An ‘avoidance goal’ means to stop doing something (e.g. eating sugar, scrolling on social media). An ‘approach goal’ meant to start doing something (e.g. reading one chapter per day, eating more vegetables).
By replacing your avoidance goals with approach goals, you are, according to the study, more likely to stick to your resolutions. Notably, you can adapt your approach goal to have the same result as your avoidance goal, without technically stopping anything. For example, ‘stop watching too much TV’ could be replaced by ‘start doing a HIIT workout once a day’. By doing the workout in the time when you would normally watch TV, you are killing two birds with one stone.
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