The following was published on Canvas Vows.
The first month of the new year is officially over — have you kept your New Year’s resolutions? According to The New York Times, more than half of all resolutions fail, which makes sense when you think about it: what reason is there for your motivation to suddenly improve in January and remain consistent enough to create long-lasting effects, versus any other time of the year? For most people, the new year is a time to reflect, to look back on accomplishments and failures, take stock of what we’ve accomplished and resolve to do better in the days that follow. Though the change from one day to the next really isn’t all that grand, we’ve decided as a species that the change from one year to the next is. Close to half of all Americans make New Year’s resolutions, though only 8% will keep them all year round.
Why is that?
Psychology Today claims that the celebration part of New Year’s is obvious: it is essentially a celebration of another 365 days of survival. However, the tradition of making resolutions has more to do with establishing a sense of control over the unknowable. Not having certainty of future events means that we don’t really have any assurance of what to do in order to keep ourselves safe. Thus, to counter this feeling of powerlessness and the throws of uncertainty, we make lists, plans and promises to ourselves to be better: diet and exercise more, save money and be frugal or finally quit smoking. What is most fascinating about making New Year’s resolutions is that just the act of committing to them — even for a moment — gives us a feeling of control over the uncertain days to come.
So, how do we keep them and prolong our feelings of control amidst uncertainty?
Read the full post here.