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Why New Year's Resolutions Don't Work For Everyone

Now New Year's Resolutions aren't everyone's cup of tea, but a fresh start often gives us the chance to reflect and think about how we'd like to better ourselves. If the pandemic has taught us anything, it's that life is unexpected and challenges crop up along the way, so you've got to go easy on yourself!

First off, let's start with some data from YouGov. For 2020, 27% planned to make resolutions, but only 12% Britons actually made them. Out of that 12%, 24% were aged 18-24 and only 6% were aged 65+. Out of everyone who made resolutions, 26% kept all of them, 48% kept some of them and 23% kept none of them.

1 in 5 Britons (19%) planned to make a resolution for 2021. Were you one of them? Did you keep yours? Are you planning to set yourself more goals for 2022?


Now, if you're part of the percentage who struggle to keep your resolutions, there's plenty of reasons why this might be...

The first reason is that your resolution isn't really your resolution. If you find yourself setting goals that are influenced by trends, family members, friends or otherwise, then it's obvious why you're failing to keep it; you're not doing it for you and it's not actually something you want. Instead, try setting goals that are more personal, something that you want to achieve - big or small.

The second reason is that your resolution isn't specific enough. Are you setting goals like "exercise more" or "lose weight"? You can't set out a plan for goals like these, and you can't mark any progress along the way. Instead, try more specific goals such as "run the 5K in August" or "lose a 8lbs by April". It's important to have a timeline for your goals, and even mini goals along the way. Having measurable goals means you can have short-term, medium-term and long-term targets that feed into your overall resolution.

The third reason is that your resolution isn't worded well. Often people lean towards using negative language in their resolutions, framing them like "stop wasting money" or "stop eating junk food". This is counter-productive, as it just makes you think about the thing you're trying to avoid. Instead, try using positive language to frame your resolutions, such as "save more money towards days out" and "try eating more healthy snacks".

If you're not much of a fan of making New Year's Resolutions for yourself, then there are plenty of alternatives to reach goals and keep yourself on track. For example, why not set yourself daily, weekly or monthly goals? If it's not so much 'goals' but keeping yourself on top of things, or making sure you get done what needs doing, then I'm a big fan of to-do lists to stay organised.

Ultimately though, New Year's Resolutions aren't for everyone so don't feel you have to make one for the sake of it. As I mentioned before, the pandemic has taught us that we can never predict what will happen throughout the year too, so you might find that challenges along the way mean you need to adapt or change your goals - and that's okay, they are your goals after all!

Happy New Year and good luck setting your 2022 resolutions,


Harriet Moore

Student Union President

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