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New Year’s Resolutions You Probably Shouldn’t Make

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New Year’s Resolutions You Probably Shouldn’t Make

The trouble with New Year’s resolutions

With the new year upon us, you may be thinking about the ways in which you would like to change your life in 2017. Every January, many of us feel as though we have been given a new opportunity to finally make progress with long-term goals.

Resolutions can be wonderful and motivating, but the sad fact is that the majority of them with go unkept. The solution? To get realistic about resolutions, and to choose goals that are both attainable and inspire a sense of enjoyment and hope rather than obligation. The following list contains five of the most common resolutions that people make every January, with reasons why you probably shouldn’t even thing about putting them on your to-do list.

The five resolutions you shouldn’t make

1. To lose weight

It is very difficult for most people to lose weight and keep it off. In simple terms, research shows that yo-yo dieting becomes the norm for most people who try and lose weight through even “sensible” diets and exercise.[1] Instead of aiming for a particular number on the scale, why not aim to make changes to your lifestyle and diet in ways that make you feel good? Take a new exercise class for the fun of it and try some healthy recipes.

2. To be happy

This is a noble goal, but it is too vague to be of much use. Why not set a small, tangible goal that will help you incorporate more fun into your life instead? For example, you could make a resolution to treat yourself to two enjoyable activities or small treats every week, or to take at least one trip away with friends in the summer.

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3. To work harder

In theory, working harder should equate to greater career satisfaction, progression and higher earnings. In practice, this doesn’t always turn out to be the case, especially if you do not make your working hours productive. Why not make a resolution to measure your productivity, and then strive to increase it by a certain percentage?

4. To give up caffeine

Coffee and other high-caffeine beverages have a bad reputation, and as a result you may be tempted to try cutting out caffeine entirely. However, caffeine is not unhealthy when taken in moderation and actually has some health benefits. For instance, research has shown that it may be protective against some forms of dementia[2]. Why not resolve to simply cut down on your intake instead if you are worried about your consumption?

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5. To get on better with other people or to be “nicer” to others

If you have to deal with difficult individuals on a regular basis, you may be tempted to try and be “nicer” or “more understanding” this year. However, committing to this resolution implies that spending time with toxic people is a good use of your precious time. Instead, why not focus on finding people who make you feel positive? Do an inventory of the people around you, and ask yourself what impact they have on your mental health. If you often feel angry, drained or upset following a few hours in someone’s company it may be time to re-assess the role they ought to be playing in your life.

In summary, there is nothing wrong with trying to improve yourself and your life. However, it pays to be smart about the resolutions you make. Whatever you want to change, make sure your resolutions are realistic. Even better, choose resolutions that allow you to have a bit of fun along the way! This way, you are more likely to make changes that last.

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Reference

[1] http://nutritionj.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/1475-2891-10-9
[2] http://content.iospress.com/articles/journal-of-alzheimers-disease/jad01404

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Jay Hill

Jay writes about communication and happiness on Lifehack.

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