Do you or don’t you? And if you do, do you stick to your resolution? It is well known that human beings are creatures of habit, with research estimating that between a third and half of our behaviour is habitual. So, if you are one of the 69 per cent of Canadians (according to a study conducted by Tangerine in 2018) that make a New Year’s resolution, how do you make sure you keep it?
The act of making a New Year’s resolution goes way way back in history, beginning during the reign of Caesar. Named after the Roman god Janus, the month of January became the time when people would think about committing to improving their morals, such as being more considerate of others. Janus was the guardian of gates, doors and arches, and also of beginnings and endings. The ancient Romans imagined Janus as having two faces: one facing forward and one facing back. His ability to look forward and backward at the same time, symbolized a reflection of the year just gone and the ability to look ahead at the year to come.
Nowadays, most people’s resolutions focus on losing weight, getting fitter or improving finances. And it is understandable, particularly after the last couple of years we’ve all had, that people want to hit the reset button. The new year offers us a clean slate and the chance to start afresh.
According to David Dozois, a professor of psychology at the University of Western Ontario, “From a mental health point of view, it’s extremely important that we set some goals and try to have some resolutions that are going to work for us and are going to help us find meaning and joy and fun.” Dozois goes on to explain that having a goal to work towards will help us overcome that depressing feeling that every day is the same and will “help us push through pandemic fatigue”, something nearly half of Canadians are feeling, according to an Ipsos poll released in October. But, more often than not, these year-long promises struggle to last even one month, let alone twelve. So how to keep from throwing in the towel?
With 80% of Canadians giving up on their resolution before the year is over, here’s a few tips to consider when setting a goal for 2022:
- Choose a realistic goal that is small and achievable
- Make it meaningful
- Pick just one resolution and focus on that
- Make a detailed plan for how you will achieve your goal
- Start with small steps that won’t overwhelm
Whilst there is obviously a lot to be gained from eating more healthily or doing more exercise, we could also benefit from goals that promote a little more love and kindness. What if, in 2022, we pledged to check in on a neighbour once a week, or committed to supporting a small local business for our shopping needs? What if we promised to consider the environment and walk more instead of taking the car? Or to try and have more patience with family members? These kinds of resolutions are easier to stick to, and benefit those around us, as well as ourselves.
Whether you decide to make a New Year’s resolution or not, all of us here at Oleander wish you a happy and healthy start to 2022! We’ll see you at 9am on Tuesday, January 4th.