Data from YouGovAmerica suggests about a quarter of Americans will make resolutions, and most people think they’ll accomplish them—20% in fact. Most people are optimistic, with 86% expecting 2022 to be the same or better than 2021. And the younger people are, the more optimistic they are about the future.
Despite their big plans though, only 8% of people will achieve their New Year’s resolutions. This is according to a study by the University of Scranton.
Why It’s Smart to Make New Year’s Resolutions
But all is not lost. Even if you don’t keep resolutions, it’s a really good idea to make them anyway. Here’s why.
#1 – Intention
Being honest with yourself about your current condition and the distance to your preferred situation is key to improvement. And being intentional about how you want to grow and develop will help you achieve results. This intentionality will also contribute to your happiness and fulfillment. When you’re moving forward with clear direction, you make a positive contribution to your emotional and mental health.
#2 – Hope and Engagement
Making New Year’s resolutions is inherently hopeful and optimistic. You expect things can get better for you, for your work experience or for your community. This positive view of the future, in turn, tends to motivate action. If you don’t believe tomorrow can be better, you’re unlikely to take steps to improve yourself or your community. So optimism is doubly beneficial—contributing to your own mental health, but also engaging you toward positive action which has an effect on those around you.
#3 – Responsibility
Most New Year’s resolutions have some impact on others. Even if they are about individual self-improvement, they affect families, friends, colleagues and communities. Your resolution to get healthy will keep you around longer for your family and friends. Your resolution to stop procrastinating will contribute to a positive team dynamic with your co-workers. And your plans to do more volunteer work at the community garden will help feed people in your locale. New Year’s resolutions are terrific ways to focus on yourself, but also to consider your broader responsibility—and to expand and multiply your positive effects on others.
#4 – Inspiration
When you seek to be better, do better or contribute more fully, you tend to inspire others as well. The primary way people learn is through experiencing the behavior of others. Even if they’re not consciously aware of it, people pick up on choices and cues from others—constantly. When you focus on the future and focus on improvement, you necessarily inspire those around you.
Strive to be in the minority of people who keep their New Year’s resolutions. But know even if you don’t keep every one, the act of making them and striving toward them will have positive effects for you and for others.