Are New Year’s Resolutions Effective Anymore?

Experts to dive into the concept of new year goals.

The New Year has officially arrived, and the time for the annual “New Year, New Me” conversation has sparked. Though the mantra has become more of an inside joke across the Twitterverse, the effort still stands. The issue is that many of us pledge to start a new goal in the New Year and typically give up before we hit February.

“When we focus on the outcome, we are more open to the personal development that happens on the journey to achieve that goal,” says Dr. Kim Mayes. “Embrace the journey; it’s the part of reaching your goal that will help you remain consistent once you achieve your New Year resolution.”

According to research from Ohio State University, only nine percent of Americans who make resolutions complete them. In the data, 23 percent of people quit their resolution by the end of the first week, and 43 percent quit by the end of January.

Still, despite the data, we press forward to achieve the new goals we want to embark on. The concept of New Year’s resolutions is nothing new, and it serves as a way for people to work on themselves and reflect on the improvement needed to grow, which is okay. “Setting up new year resolutions offers an opportunity for a renewed beginning,” says Sarah Peláez, clinical psychologist, learning therapist, and writer of The Psychology of Intuition.

Our vision with manifestation and the law of attraction is the same as a resolution because we want to achieve our goals and develop as people each new year. “This widespread tradition serves as an invitation for personal reinvention, inviting you to reflect thoughtfully on past achievements and shortcomings while setting meaningful goals, ”Peláez tells GU. “This, in effect, can steer you towards genuine personal growth and fulfillment.”

Throughout the process of self-actualization, we understand who we want to be, and these goals motivate us to see who we are destined to be after completing these goals. “It’s easy to forget that New Year’s Resolutions are just like any other goal,” says writer Jerilyn Harper. “You’ve got to have a solid plan to make it happen. I slapped Auditioning for the Falcon’s Cheerleading Team and Running for Miss Georgia America on my vision board and made those dreams a reality.”

When working toward completing a resolution, the biggest takeaway is that making an achievement is the surface-level reward. Still, the actual reward is creating new habits to better your lifestyle. According to author and life coach Marceia Cork, there are three significant practices to include when achieving new resolutions: Visualize, Brainstorming and Reinforcement. As you follow each method, the ultimate destination is knowing you have enough self-awareness to see your plan through realistically. 

“We don’t always prepare enough for the barriers to our success,” Cork says. “We might spend the entire holiday season deciding what to concentrate on for the coming year, but not enough time on identifying the potential challenges.”

Through those three principles, Zillennials can take a new approach toward maintaining a New Year’s resolution instead of jumping in head first. With social media over-saturating the timeline with hustle and goal-oriented content, there can be massive pressure on the average consumer wanting to have major accomplishments overnight. 

“We often make the mistake of waiting for day one instead of starting the week or month before,” says Media Manager Lindsay Francois. “If you’re intentional about your goals, you must write out those intentions, start early, build momentum, and create systems to keep you accountable.”

About the Author: Kenyatta Victoria is the lead writer for Essence GU, working on all things pop culture, politics, entertainment and business. Throughout her time at GU, she’s garnered devoted readers and specializes in the Zillennial point of view. 

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