This time of year the talk of resolutions, of change, and of self-betterment seems to take center stage. Everyone focuses on the things they want to better in themselves for the coming year. But why do we do this? Why do we take this time to lament our shortcomings and set goals for the future?
The last question gives us a good hint at the reason. The “death” of one year and the subsequent “birth” of the next year is a perfect opportunity for us to put to death the bad habits we identify in ourselves and try to set in place those habits we wish to maintain.
Did you know the tradition of making these resolutions dates all the way back to the Babylonians? They held a giant multi-day party and made oaths to the gods to repay any debts they owed to others and return anything they had borrowed. They made these promises full-knowing the massive consequences of failing to keep these vows: death (because displeasing a god surely meant death). I think that might keep you on that treadmill for a day or two more. Or at least keep you from making a promise you don’t have 100% resolve in keeping.
A study performed in modern times demonstrated that less than half of those making New Year’s Resolutions were able to keep them beyond 6 months.
But there’s more research (of course there’s more) due to the extensive and timeless nature of these resolutions. In fact there have been numerous studies and reports created surrounding this concept of resolution-making and new habit forming. And with modern technology some interesting observations have been made.
With the rise of social media there has been an interesting phenomena observed:
”Identity-related behavioral intentions that had been noticed by other people were translated into action less intensively than those that had been ignored.” When Intentions Go Public
Whoah, did you catch that? In plain English, when you tell others about your intentions you seem to think of that as partial success and then don’t both with actually putting those words into action! Or to put it another way, if you want your resolutions to be successful…don’t tell anyone. Don't broadcast your goals all over social media and consider yourself better instantly.
If you have the time, the study I quoted above is a fascinating read and speaks to some interesting characteristics of the human psyche. It’s a good warning for what so many others tend to joke about: show discretion with what you share on social media. This seems to be particularly true if you want to improve yourself and make some new resolutions for the coming year.
Given our newly discovered knowledge I’ll share my New Year’s Resolutions for 2018 below and I would encourage you to do the same:
- xxxxx xxxxx xxx xxxxxxxx xxxx xxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxxx xxxxx xxx xxxxx xxxx xxxx xxxxxxx xxxx xx xxxxxxx xx.
- xxx xxxxx x xxxxx xxxxxx xxxxxx xxxxxxxx xxxx xxxx xxxxx xxxxxxx xxx xxxx xxxx xx xxxxx xxxx xxxx.
- xxxxxxx x xxxx xxxxxxxx xxx xxxxx xx xxxxxx xxxx xxxxx xxxxx xx xxx xxxxx xx xxxxx xx xxxxxx xx xxxxxxxxx xxx xxxxxx.
And though I may not approach these with the same fervor and fear that the Babylonians may have held, I do hope I’ll be able to share my success with you as 2018 comes to a close. Whatever you may choose to do for your own resolutions and your goals for the new year that lies ahead of you - I wish you all the success and best of luck as you strive to be the best version of yourself.