Should You Set a New Year’s Resolution?

by Farah Khan, MS RD CDN

January comes around and every year, most of us try to set some New Year’s resolutions. But how many of us actually stick to them past February? It begs the question, “Should we even bother to set New Year’s resolutions at all?”

Well, it really depends, and there are proponents on both sides of the fence – those who wholeheartedly support New Year’s resolutions and those who don’t. Let’s take a look at both arguments. New Year’s resolutions can be very motivating for people looking to make changes. January signals the beginning of a new year, and it can seem like the perfect time to set new goals for the future. These could be health or fitness goals, or they can be related to finances, investments and personal growth.

On the flip side, it can also feel like a lot of pressure to set a new challenge or goal for yourself, just because everyone else is doing it. If you are thinking of making a New Year’s resolution, do it for yourself, and not because others around you are! Many people are often unable to maintain their resolutions or goals because they are either unrealistic or difficult to maintain.
If you do decide to set new goals for yourself in the new year, ask yourself the following questions:

1. How much does this mean to me? How motivated am I to achieve this goal? On a scale of 1 to 10, if you are at a level 2 or 3, then it may not be that important to you – and the likelihood of achieving your goal is also probably low.

2. Is it realistic for me at the current time? Setting too many large goals when you are already busy and feeling overwhelmed may be unrealistic, and may add too much pressure and stress on top of current responsibilities. Assess your schedule and priorities and decide if this is the right time to start something new. Remember that you can always reevaluate your goals and decide to set new ones at any time of the year – not just in January!

3. Do I have a plan and an outline of how to achieve my goals? Every realistic goal should have clear steps that will lead you to the successful accomplishment of the goal. You are likely better off setting fewer goals and making them well defined and realistic, rather than setting too many goals that have no clear outline.

So, to answer the question of whether or not you should make New Year’s resolutions…Go ahead! If January is a time that inspires you to make changes and set new goals, go for it! Just make sure that the goals are realistic, achievable and manageable, and that you have identified steps to accomplish them. And if January is not the right time, then set a target date to reevaluate your goals and set new ones – it will be something to look forward to later on in the New Year!