The end of December is synonymous with celebration, but it also signals the start of another time-honoured tradition: making new year’s resolutions.
The act of pledging to start doing something “good” or stop doing something “bad” is one that’s observed by many Canadians annually. But, is it a healthy way to start the year?
You may be surprised to read this, but I don’t think it is.
THE DOWNSIDE OF MAKING BIG PROMISES
According to a recent study, the top 10 New Year’s resolutions for 2019 were:
When you combine this list with the fact 80 percent of resolutions fail by February, the cracks in this longstanding ritual begin to appear.
Overhauling aspects of our lifestyle is challenging at any time of year, but particularly when its tied — not to internal motivation or readiness — but to a fixed date on the calendar. If we pledge to make major and unrealistic changes without actually being ready, the chances of failure increase and we can end up feeling more demoralized and unhappy than before we started.
AN ALTERNATIVE APPROACH
Rather than making lofty and life-altering resolutions at the start of the year, I suggest approaching January 1st with a renewed commitment to wellness and self-care.
Life can be frenzied and stressful enough without piling on a list of new tasks to achieve. I’d prefer, instead, my clients focus on learning who they are and how to healthily move forward when life doesn’t go as planned.
In dedicating more time to personal wellness and less time to pressure-driven goals, we can hopefully strive for a healthier, wiser and more improved self in 2020.
Wishing you a peaceful and happy New Year!
Lindsay Ross, MSW RSW, is a clinical social worker in private practice in Toronto, Ontario.