New Year’s Resolutions: Helpful or Harmful?


10…9…8…7…6…5…4…3…2…1…Happy New Year! In the days following this countdown, one of the most frequently asked questions is “What are your New Year’s resolutions?” The idea of going into the new year with a resolution is, on its own, a good one. However, there is a downside that isn’t often addressed. Does that downside outweigh the possible benefits, or are resolutions truly important to guaranteeing the success of the new year?

The premise seems to be that since it’s a new year there will be a new you, and everything will change for the better. This is not the case. As in any instance of change, achieving a resolution is something that requires hard work and effort rather than just saying it’s going to happen and being surprised when it doesn’t. 

Picking a resolution is part of the issue. If you pick one that’s too easy there’s no satisfaction in completing it. If you set your goal too high, however, then you feel like trash if you don’t meet it. Finding a good balance can make New Year’s resolutions successful and helpful. Without that balance, they could seriously disappoint.

A resolution is often just a goal wrapped in fancy packaging: It’s a new year so I’m going to be healthier! The issue is why wait? If you want to be a healthier person there’s no point in waiting around till the New Year to make a change.

There are people in the world that make the same resolutions every year, and not once have succeeded in making the change. To have the same goal and try so hard to get it yet continue to fail is a hard thing to do. Despite all the things that point to resolutions being a bad idea, people continue to make them. Part of that is due to tradition, but it also has something to do with potential successes. When you decide to make a change and actually follow through, the confidence gained from that is astronomical. 

When done right, New Year’s resolutions are extremely beneficial to people. It isn’t a tradition that will be ending any time soon. However, just like many things in our world, they could use some change. When making resolutions it is important to ask if it’s possible or if it isn’t. Challenges are an important part of growth and improvement, but only when they’re achievable. This new year, ask yourself if what you’re doing to improve yourself is beneficial or if you are just hurting yourself even more. Change takes time, and sometimes a new year is a perfect place to start. However, keeping expectations reasonable and realistic is key.