Tuesday, 3 January 2012

Why we make New Year’s resolutions?

On 1 January many of us pledge, with enthusiasm and determination, that we are going to quit smoking or lose weight, yet by February most of us have discarded these goals altogether. Four out of ten people make New Year’s resolutions but with such a low success rate, why do we continue to make them every year?

Perhaps it’s because the new year marks a new beginning. In our minds, it initiates a change, offers us a fresh start and the possibility to wipe the slate clean. We think back over the past year and consider what we could have done better and this feeds our desire to change.

You might think New Year is like any other day of the year, but this fixed date in the calendar allows us to prepare, and make plans for change.

Another reason for resolutions might simply be tradition. It is understood that Julius Caesar started the tradition to honour the Roman mythical God Janus, who had two faces – one to look back into the past and one to look to the new year. The Babylonians however believed whatever a person did on the first day of the year had an effect all year long.

The mere fact that people keep making resolutions, regardless of whether they are achieved or not, shows hope and a certain belief in their ability to be able to change. Indeed, one study showed that 46% of people who made resolutions were successful compared to 4% who had a goal but did not set a resolution, which suggests that making resolutions can get you closer to your goals.

If you would like to make a change and you feel you need some help to do this then please contact your local First Psychology centre:

Edinburgh: 0131-668-1440, www.edinburghtherapy.co.uk
Glasgow: 0141-404-5411, www.glasgowpsychology.co.uk
Borders: 01896-800-400, www.borderspsychology.co.uk

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