New Year Resolutions
New Year’s Resolutions- Should we Bother?
Like many of you, I make New Year’s resolutions with zest and enthusiasm. For example, I will vow to use my gym membership more regularly, to lose weight, and to get more balance in my life… tick. tick tick…
And I every year I start off well but then, like most, I tend to resort back to my usual behaviour quickly.
This is typical. The University of Scranton research suggests that only about 8 % of people achieve their New Year’s goals.
So should we bother even making these resolutions at all? Yes!
New Year’s resolutions are a sign of hope. They signify that we believe that we cannot only change but also be masters of our own fate to some degree.
LOCUS OF CONTROL
When you face a challenging situation, do you feel that you have control over the outcome? Or do you believe that you are at the mercy of outside forces of which you have no control? If you believe that you have some control over what happens, then you have an internal locus of control and you take responsibility for your actions. If you believe that you have no control over what happens, you have an external locus of control and you feel more or less powerless to affect your circumstances.
As you have guessed, people with an internal locus of control tend to be happier, more confident and even healthier.
Which are you?
If you have an external locus of control, you likely feel learned helplessness, a term coined by Martin Seligman, an American Psychologist and educator. Learned helplessness essentially means that you’ve learned that for the most part what you do doesn’t get you the outcome you wished for and so you give up taking action to change things. It leads to and underlies depression.
You don’t have to live with learned helplessness. Even someone in the worst imaginable circumstances, can find ways to change their outcome. Victor Frankl, an Austrian neurologist, psychiatrist and survivor of the Nazi concentration camp, is the supreme example. He explains:
“Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.
Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.”
MAKE THAT NEW YEARS RESOLUTION
When you make a New Year’s resolutions, even if you don’t stick to it, you are exhibiting optimism, the mindset that you can take action to change things for the better — whether it’s your football or soccer team winning, your article getting published, your business growing, making new friends, earning more money, or your new year’s resolutions succeeding. You are showing an internal locus of control.
So go ahead and make your resolutions! Keep your hope and optimism alive. You may fail many times before you succeed. Thomas Edison experienced a 1000 unsuccessful attempts before he developed the light bulb.
Remember, as Henry Ford’s once quipped, “Whether you think you can or if you think you can’t, you are right!”
Happy New Year!