Thursday, 1 January 2015

Why New Year's Resolutions Were Made to be Broken

If you’re sitting there hungover and bloated from your New Year’s celebrations, swearing to yourself that you’ll cut down on the booze this year, you may want to ask yourself a few questions first.

How likely are you to stick to your resolutions? How realistic are they? (You may want to scribble out that round the world trip now.) And perhaps most crucially, why do we even make these resolutions that were, let’s face it, made to be broken?

The origins of the New Year’s resolution actually goes back donkey’s years- the ancient Romans began each year by making promises to lead a better life to Janus, the god after whom January is named. Fast forward a few thousand years and the New Year resolution was turned into a Western tradition by, who else- our good old friends across the pond. America’s obsession with self-improvement meant that many resolutions centred on the individual and ways of “bettering” yourself. The US government even has a website offering tips on ways to keep the most popular New Year’s resolutions including losing weight; volunteering more; stopping smoking; eating better and saving money.

Despite this tradition, statistics show that making New Year’s resolutions have actually fallen out of favour. A CBS News poll in 2013 reported that 68%of Americans don’t make New Year’s resolutions, and that those under 30 are also more likely to make them. As for keeping them? We’re not too great at that either, with just one in 10 of us achieving our goal and most of us throwing in the towel as early as January 23rd, according to Professor Richard Wiseman from the University of Hertfordshire.

I used to make New Year’s resolutions religiously; the ones cropping up the most being writing a book (never made it past the first chapter) and getting fit (forever a work in progress.) Now, I know I’m never going to be as talented as J K Rowling or as fighting fit as Gwyneth Paltrow, so why do we bother? Laurie L. Dove, a writer for, claims “they are a method of erasing the errors of the past year,” and that they are a “means of cataloguing our personal dissatisfactions.”

I suppose from a psychological perspective, as humans we are always looking to better ourselves. In this competitive age where everyone is in the pursuit of happiness, we are just looking to be the best person that we can be, even though we all know that that is easier said than done. In my experience, you often can’t make certain things in your life happen, often they just, well, happen.

Yes, New Year’s resolutions are a ridiculous tradition. Yes, you’re probably going to be too skint to go on that once in a lifetime holiday. And by now you’ve probably formed too close a relationship with Netflix and Cadbury to start a love affair with the gym and lettuce. But it’s the human sense of hope that makes New Year’s resolutions worth doing. New Year’s resolutions were made to be broken, but hey, this might be your lucky year…

Writing your New Year’s Resolutions? Before you do, here are the 25 of the most commonly broken New Year’s Resolutions of 2014 according to List 25:

25. Lose Weight
24. Exercise
23. Quit Smoking
22. Quit Drinking
21. Get a new job
20. Get out of debt
19. Save money
18. Eat Healthier
17. Get organized
16. Spend more time with family
15. Manage stress better
14. Enjoy life to the fullest
13. Stop procrastinating
12. Travel
11. Improve a relationship
10. Learn a new language
09. Get more sleep
08. Spend less time on Facebook
07. Spend less time watching TV
06. Clean out old belongings
05. Cycle more (instead of driving)
04. Run a half or full marathon
03. Try an extreme sport (most commonly bungee jumping)
02. Do something for charity
01. Having a baby

Coming soon: More 'How To' guides and Netflix reviews!

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As always, thank you so much for reading!

Love Georgia x 

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