Updated 08:55 PM EDT, Wed, Oct 21, 2020

Pros & Cons of Committing to a New Year's Resolution

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With New Year's Day just around the corner, resolutions are likely making their way into everyone's list. While these vary from person to person, giving people a sense of purpose for the year ahead, there are some who think that having them may actually do more harm than good.

Amy Cuddy, a social psychologist from Harvard Business School, said in her book "Presence" that it may not be best to stick to resolutions. She shared with Business Insider that our inability to set reasonable goals can be our downfall, as we will fill ourselves with feelings of anxiety once these unreasonable goals are not fulfilled.

But there are those who want a fresh start for the upcoming year, which is why despite many failures in the past, some people are still adamant on setting New Year's resolutions. Taking Miss Cuddy's argument in stride, what are the pros and cons of looking forward to a clean slate in 2016?


A resolution gives you a sense of purpose. Whether it's about losing weight or letting go of toxic relationships and habits, or traveling to a new place, having one gives you something to look forward to doing in the year.

In times of struggle, hope is the last thing that you have to let go of, and with a belief that the coming year will give good things, you will have the drive and motivation to look forward to what's coming next.

Achieving a goal will give you a great sense of pride and accomplishment, and it's yours and yours alone. If you fail, there is always next year, but as Cleveland.com pointed out, you miss 100% of the chances that you didn't take.


Dealing with absolutes sets people for failure, said Cuddy, because while the motivation at the beginning of the year is strong, more often than not, it will not remain that way and at some point in the year, the motivation will wane. Ultimately, you will not reach your goal.

Resolutions are framed by negativity that tends to focus on one's desire to change about themselves. Cuddy explained, "you're eliciting in yourself negative emotions. Some negative emotions are motivating, but for the most part, they're not."

We forget that it's about the journey, not the destination. While you're set on losing weight, for instance, you keep on focusing on your target weight, and trying to track your progress every day at the gym get's demoralizing. Cuddy shared, "You're going to feel like a failure for so much of that because the comparison is between where I am now versus where I want to be."

While there are pros and cons to making New Year's resolutions, it is important to remember that in the end, it is your decision. Whether or not you make one, a year can come and go so fast, so take life one day at a time.

And for 2016? Make it YOUR year. Own it.

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