I’d like to share an article I wrote about New Year’s resolutions.
I know it’s been several days now since the time of making resolutions, and statistically somewhere around 31% of people have jumped off the wagon by now, depending on which authority you read to get those numbers.
(I usually take statistics with a grain of salt.)
I thought you might want to read anyway, and since my article didn’t end up getting printed in the place I’d intended, you are the first audience.
Enjoy: read, and agree or disagree. Let me know what you think.
To Resolve or Not to Resolve?
New Year’s resolutions face skepticism as Winnipeggers make other plans
Although a longstanding tradition, New Year’s resolutions are taking heat as the general trend seems to be make a resolution only to break it within a few weeks.
By early evening on Jan. 2, 2012, over 1100 people had responded to the poll posted on winnipegfreepress.com about New Year’s resolutions. Of the respondents, 77 per cent declared they hadn’t made any resolutions. Why not? “I never keep them,” according to the poll.
“I’ve grown to really dislike New Year’s resolutions because they are almost always doomed to fail,” said Steve Dick, Worship Pastor at Eastview Community Church. “Give up those. Stop that. Less this. Stay away. Rather, let’s resolve to do something positive.” He added, “It’s just my opinion but I have lived through too many New Year’s resolutions failed.”
Reid Valmestad, a first-year student at the University of Winnipeg, said he’s never made New Year’s resolutions. “I don’t really see the point of setting a goal for the whole year, once a year,” he said. “You should be setting goals for yourself as many times as you can.”
Howard S. Friedman, Ph.D., a professor at the University of California, Riverside, goes even further. In an article published on psychologytoday.com, he declared, “when we focus in on ourselves, we often subvert or destroy the very things that can lead to better health and happiness.”
So what to do when New Year’s rolls around?
“Mentally I think it’s easier to turn over a new leaf with a new year,” said Rose Dillon, who became a mom in January of last year. “Practically, though,” she added, “I think it takes a few years to actually follow through – I’ve found this only possible for myself in the last couple years!”
Valmestad said that instead of resolutions, he evaluates his own behaviour. “I just kind of do mental checks every day,” he said. “You know, ‘how will this make myself seem as a person,’ and if it’s anything that I don’t want to be perceived by other people, I don’t do it!”
“The best new year’s resolution,” Dr. Friedman said, “is to throw away your self-improvement lists and focus on accomplishing things at work (or school), with friends and family, and with your community.”
His recommendation sounded a lot like Steve Dick’s plan. “Let’s resolve to do something more positive,” he said. “More time to get to know God. More time with family and friends. More reading.”
Dick said he will focus on the positive rather than what should be avoided in the New Year. “Resolve to do instead of making resolutions to ‘not do,’” he said. “In my case it’s for God.”