Are New Year’s resolutions self-defeating?


Have you got your New Year’s resolution ready? Have you kept it or broken it already? Or are you one of the cool ones who decided not to have any this year? I guess New Year’s resolutions are a simple and harmless deal you make with yourself… Or are they?

Our CEO says:

“New Year’s resolutions can be a stumbling block to failure for being based on the premise that if one doesn’t attain them; they should feel bad -which defeats the object of the exercise.”

But why do we like to make New Year’s resolutions? Is there a way to do them right? Let’s take a closer look.

When did New Year’s resolutions start? 


According to research, people started celebrating the start of a new year over 4000 years ago, and have already made resolutions to keep their lives in order and pay their debts off. As our bodies and minds operate in cycles, the celebration of a period and a fresh start has been attractive ever since our consciousness appeared. You may wonder if today’s resolutions are the same as the old ones, or there is something new to them. Maybe with our lives changing, today’s resolutions aren’t as innocent as they used to be.


New Year, new me 

While getting your life in order and celebrating a new start seems natural to us, today, some resolutions seem to take a particularly image-related direction. People signing up to gym memberships, beauty salons packed with “New Year, new me” clients… Is this a new year or a new persona? 


It seems there is a fine line between self-reflecting and feeling inspired to better ourselves, and between buying into the insecurity-induced and capitalised structure of the “new you” that you must find, as the old one was no good anyway. 


There is no need for the Chicken or Egg argument to find out whether we wanted to renew ourselves first and companies decided to capitalise on our desires, or we were just told to do all of this and then we decided to wish for a new self, but examining the motive behind our resolutions might help us to avoid setting ourselves up for misery and unavoidable failure. 


How far should we stretch?

Once your motive is clear, make sure you find the perfect balance between the unrealistic goal and the resolution that is not challenging enough. A successful resolution must be well-balanced and well structured. Review your resolution to make sure it follows the SMART method used in CBT. Is your New Year’s resolution…


  • Specific

  • Measurable

  • Achievable

  • Relevant and

  • Timely?

Vague wishes that you can’t follow up on such as “I want to be happier” are harder to determine if they were successful. Specify the goal and the steps towards it, so you can really go for it! Is your goal measurable? This is one of the most important features as an immeasurable resolution will only be up to your interpretation, if it was kept or not. 

What if it doesn’t work?

Let’s just say you did follow the right steps and you still didn’t succeed. How do you feel now, compared to your “last year’s self”? You may have failed due to many things: lack of self-motivation, energy, not really wanting your goal or just self-sabotaging. But are you a failure now? You may feel like that now, but really, there was nothing wrong with your “last year’s self” or with your desire to better it. However, a strict resolution may not be for you. Change comes in small steps, with many lows and highs before straightening your curve leading to your success. 


So are New Year’s resolutions self-defeating?

No, they don’t have to be. As long as your New Year’s resolutions don’t come with self-loathing at every dip on your way, your new path may just be the way to something wonderful.  Just remember to be SMART about them!

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