The Pros and Cons of Setting a Resolution

Dec 27, 2023

…and Tips for Approaching it Mindfully

Are you one to set a new year’s resolution?  Or does even the thought of that increase your heart rate, make you cringe, and you want to “quit” before you even get started? No matter where you stand in this debate, you are not alone.  In fact, if you are a “no way, Jose,” to New Year’s resolutions, you would join the majority of adults in the United States.  According to New Year’s Eve Statistics, approximately 38.5% of U.S. adults make New Year’s Resolutions, with less than 10% successfully keeping them.  Either way, there are pros and cons to consider when it comes to making resolutions and do so in a healthier, more mindful way. 

A few cons of setting a true New Year’s Resolution:

  • The pressure of setting a resolution can create stress and anxiety
  • Setting strict resolutions can weigh us down and, in turn, affect our self-trust and confidence
  • Not keeping (or the thought of not keeping) a resolution can cause false hope syndrome or damage our self-esteem

A few pros of setting a New Year’s Resolution – they can:

  • Provide a fresh start
  • Provide clarity for goals, writing them out provides direction
  • Make you feel good if you accomplish something that felt impossible at first

A mindful approach to resolutions is the mindset that self-transformation begins with self-awareness.  When considering this, it is important to:

  • First turn your attention to the habit(s) you would like to change and what would help sustain those habits.  For example, if you want to spend more time with family, observe how and when you would be able to fit this into your schedule.
  • Take a less defined or quantitative approach and, rather than a resolution, set more of an intention. Intentions are typically more energy based, qualitative, and progress oriented.  For example, instead of “I resolve to exercise 5x/week” try something more like “I intend to cultivate more self-compassion in the year ahead.” 
  • Reflect on your heart’s intent when setting these/this – what you most authentically want for yourself
  • Observe any inner resistance and turn it into self-compassion
  • Consider simplifying all of this by simply choosing one word – a word of intent to carry with you throughout the year.  Presence, courage, creativity, authenticity name a few examples
  • Focus on the process and not results

Even without a true intention, you can start the year more mindfully by simply beginning each day by taking a few minutes to just breathe, before checking emails, social media, news, etc.  Give yourself a few minutes of time, energy, and love before you give it to the world. 

If you do choose to resolve to do something, here are a few healthier (and mindful) ideas:

  • Volunteer for a charity
  • Donate to a charity
  • Try a new hobby
  • Say yes to something you may not normally do
  • Say no to something you would typically do that doesn’t help you be the best version of yourself or isn’t healthy for your well-being
  • Set a budget for yourself or your family
  • Do one (selfless) act of kindness each quarter
  • Work on pausing and identifying your actual feelings (especially before you react to situations)
  • Learn how to invest your money
  • Take a cooking class
  • Take an online class in something that may interest you – the sky is the limit – photography, history, leadership, etc.
  • Treat yourself with more love and compassion – how you would treat your most loved and valued friend or family member
  • Take steps to reduce stress
  • Do a daily gratitude journal entry – listing at least one thing/day you are grateful for
  • Spend a few minutes daily diving deeper into your spirituality

Hopefully you’ve entered your email on the main Blog page of this website to get “The Ultimate Guide to Mindfulness.” This will also sign you up for weekly emails (like this week’s – Resolution or No Resolution, 8 Tips to Stick to Plans of Change) and important updates and news. 

For additional tips on mindful living and topics like this, follow me @livinghealthyin5fields on social media.

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