OPINION: To Resolve or Not To Resolve

Thanksgiving and the winter holidays are often a time of reflection. During those times, we think about our year so far, either to be grateful for the good times or reflect on the hard times. Regardless of whether the year has been mostly good or bad, our reflection of the past helps us create our personalized vision for the future – which is the very definition of a New Year’s resolutions. Over the years, it has been heavily argued that New Year’s Resolutions create more harm than good and should be socially rejected, but also reasons why New Year’s Resolutions are extremely important for personal growth.

New Year’s resolutions have a lot of advantages. In a study published by the Journal of Clinical Psychology, it was found that people that set New Year’s resolutions are 10 times more likely to have an upbeat attitude and positive behaviors than those who don’t. New Year’s resolutions also foster positive feelings about oneself, create an environment of success and progress, help to avoid unhealthy intrusions, give you a hyperopic view of life, reinforce the idea of motivation and self-control, create a sense of achievement and boost self-esteem.

Procrastination, culture of defeat and feelings of discouragement are commonly listed as cons to resolutions. Harmful and unnecessary pressure and unrealistic or unattainable goals are frivolous cons because a resolution is personal to you; therefore, you model your resolutions and if you don’t want to share or create a resolution, you do not have to. Lastly, if you think the idea of self-improvement is a con, I need to remind you that as humans we are imperfect and flawed but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t strive to be better.

For those who have made their New Year’s Resolution and are struggling to keep it, I encourage you to keep pushing through it and to remember that your resolution doesn’t have to be big or seem overly important, it just has to be realistically and attainably catered to you.


As the year turns over, we find ourselves in a state of reflection. We see what we could have done better on during the year prior, and come up with new dreams. New Year’s resolutions aim to create these dreams in earnest, but the actual execution has resulted in a culture-wide habit of bullying ourselves. The last thing any of us need is an excuse to put ourselves down for not achieving perfection. Giving ourselves lofty goals that determine our self-worth only serves to aid in toxic co-rumination. Physiology Today describes rumination as replaying or rehashing situations in our minds as a way of processing. It becomes co-rumination when we commiserate with others about our failures and short-comings. Where co-rumination can sometimes feel good, at the end of the day we’re tricking ourselves into thinking we’re getting something done while actually setting ourselves up for later disappointment. Especially in light of COVID, setting standards for ourselves designed for us to fall short of only adds to the anxiety of the day-to-day. If the goal of resolutions is self-improvement, they fall short by a long shot.

Psychology Today emphasizes the importance of being compassionate with yourself if you find yourself co-ruminating. For those that still feel the need to focus on goal-setting, the best suggestion is to change their mindset by setting New Year’s affirmations. Foundations Wellness Center urges that reflecting on your successes and what you’re grateful for can be more effective than using your failure as a motivator by way of New Year’s resolutions. When it comes to those inevitable short-comings, being realistic and kind with ourselves can help us set more attainable and progress-friendly goals. Messing up is a part of life, in fact, it’s essential to improvement. The sooner we transform our mindsets from fixing ourselves with New Year’s resolutions into embracing ourselves with New Year’s affirmations, the sooner we can actually feel successful about the progress that we are making.