1/4: New Year’s Resolutions: More Harm Than Good?

It was the best laid plans.  Going into 2011, I planned to refrain from making a New Year’s resolution.  And, I was in good company.  According to the latest national Marist Poll, 56% of American adults said it was not likely at all that they would make a resolution for 2011.  Ultimately, though, I caved.

azzoli-caricature-445As the hours ticked down to 2011, I questioned my decision.  “There are definitely plenty of bad habits and personality flaws that I can work on correcting,” I thought.  So, my ultimate decision was to resolve to worry less and enjoy life more.  (No small task for the ultimate Little Miss Worry Wart.)

The ball fell, I ushered in the New Year with my loved ones, and I was on track to be more laid back.  Think positively, I said to myself.  This is the beginning of a whole new you.  January 1st was a wonderful day, filled with family and friends.  And, then, it happened.  My brother, his fiancée, my fiancé, and I were gathered around my mother’s dining room table discussing our respective wedding plans.  As my brother’s well organized fiancée ticked off their well-thought out arrangements, I started to panic.  Granted, they are getting married before us, but that still didn’t stop my mind from racing.  Are we behind?  Does our more traditional style stink of boredom compared with their more avant-guard taste?  Should we be doing more? I painfully held my concerns until later that evening.  When I shared them with my fiancé, he stared at me and asked, “You couldn’t make it through one day, could you?”

He was right.  And, so, I started anew with my resolution.  But, here is the question that has been going through my mind: do resolutions do more harm than good? Think about it.  Each year, many of us promise to make a change going into the New Year, but for those who don’t keep them, there is often a sense of self-disappointment and failure?  In Marist’s holiday survey, nearly six in ten American adults considered the holiday season to be more stressful than fun.  Is this yet another holiday tradition which ultimately stresses us out?  It could be.

Mental note for 2012: resolve to stop over thinking.