Making healthy 2022 resolutions
January 12, 2022
As the world enters a new year, many perceive 2022 as a fresh start — a perfect time to set goals and make changes within individual lifestyles. However, these New Year resolutions can often have the opposite effect and can place immense pressure on individuals to achieve a perfect set of aspirations in a small period. In taking the right technique and understanding the implications of new years goals, 2022 can be a successful year for positive growth and sustained accomplishments.
A New Year’s resolution is outlined as a promise to do something different in the New Year. New Year’s resolutions have remained a significant aspect and tradition of the start of a new year for many. Resolutions often take the form of personalized lists with both desired habits to carry into the New Year, and undesired behaviors to leave behind. The chief objective of New Year’s resolutions are to enter the New Year ready for successful change among the blank slate it promises.
my new year's resolution pic.twitter.com/nx5U6MOfIR
— joey (@shutupjoeyy) January 1, 2022
Each year, a quarter of Americans make a new year’s resolution. Within 2021, the most common New Year’s resolutions made for the New Year included losing weight, exercising more, becoming more organized, spending time with family and friends, and more. New Year’s resolutions often take the form of changes to health, financial, and social decisions.
Although entertaining these positive choices for individuals entering the New Year can be beneficial, the common practice of New Year’s resolutions can become harmful. Common resolutions often set unrealistically high expectations and place significant pressure on the individual to accomplish the goal immediately. New Year’s resolutions are often not treated as year-long habits to work towards, but rather, high-achieving goals to see progress instantaneously.
To consider the New Year a “fresh start” to make dramatic lifestyle changes is perceived as a widespread physiological effect, called the “Fresh Start Effect”. With this effect, there is a shared belief that the start of certain phenomena, like the start of a new year, month, or week, holds a promise at a chance to start over. However, these changes can be made at any time, and are equally accomplishable throughout the year. Instead, it is more beneficial to remain open to gradual and positive change habitual throughout the year. Making small goals and changes along the way makes resolutions a lot less overwhelming and intimidating to accomplish.
However, there are various modifications individuals can make to strengthen their resolutions, improve their chances of accomplishing them, and most importantly — relieve the unnecessary stress of rapidly achieving their goals.
The superlative way to improve New Year resolves to be realistic and specific is by emphasizing one main goal. This tactic is much more beneficial than creating several quixotic goals.
This emphasized goal should be simple and possess an action plan to accomplish it. Furthermore, the best way to approach these goals is through the approach-oriented perspective. This approach is significantly more effective in achieving resolutions for the New Year, as studies have shown that individuals who set approach-oriented goals are more likely to consider themselves successful.
new year, old healthy habits pic.twitter.com/iInaDGMuwI
— 🕊 (@cinnamonpeonies) January 5, 2022
An approach-oriented goal focuses on positive motivation from the individual, with a plan open to fair help from others. On the other hand, avoidance-oriented goals are often negatively motivated and closed off from constructive criticism due to a fixation on failure.
It is important to remember that the New Year does not require an entire set of changes to old habits, a new persona, new environments, and more. The tradition of New Year’s resolutions can be followed in a simplified and fair manner, allowing resolutions to be much more profitable, while also reducing the stress and anxiety of the pressure of a new year and fresh start.
When making 2022 resolutions this year, it is essential to be cautious of these pressures and misconceptions of significant changes and goals for the New Year. Instead, focus can be shifted to ideas and aspirations that individuals truly want to work towards during the year – and can form a manageable plan to do so. These plans can be worked through gradually, at any desired pace. The pressure created when creating idealized resolutions only promotes more stress within an individual’s life, and can actively work against their goals. Disappointment and burnout in oneself are major factors in making these resolutions, and it is immensely important to consider mental wellbeing and stress relief when forming these goals.
AHN Junior, Rosie Mele, participates in New Year’s resolutions every year in a way she finds beneficial.
“Making New Year’s resolutions every year is something I enjoy doing. I think it definitely helps me to stay on top of all my goals and remind myself of what is most important to me going into the New Year,” Mele (’23) says.