New Year’s Resolutions: Helpful or Harmful?

It is 2011, and we are approaching the second week of the New Year. Did you write resolutions for the year? A pledge to visit the gym 5 days a week perhaps? Maybe get out of the house and enjoy nature on the weekends? To get 8 hours of sleep each night? Whereas some people are going strong with their resolutions, others are already beginning to give up. What do you think is the difference between being successful and failing at New Year’s resolutions? And can these resolutions actually cause harm? I think that resolutions can be helpful if they are reasonable. For instance, if it has been 2 years since I have worked out, I might set a goal to go to the gym twice a week for the first month and exercise for 15 minutes each time. This sounds like a reasonable, attainable resolution that wouldn’t be too difficult to stick to. Sometimes, it is so tempting to make resolutions that are so far from where we are that they are virtually unattainable. But, I CAN run that marathon in 2 months. I haven’t worked out in two years, but I can do it! It might feel really good to dream about being able to train for a marathon in two months and then run it. However, what is the likelihood that I will be successful? Probably not that good. So, what’s the harm in setting high goals you might be asking yourself. Well, when we set a goal that is not attainable, we are setting ourselves up for failure. For many people, the more times they fail, the more negative emotions they experience as a result. This can lead to anxiety, depression, negative beliefs about ourselves and many other concerns.
So, what should you do if you are giving up on your resolutions? Go ahead and forgive yourself, and set some new, more attainable goals.

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