Researchers at the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health suggest ‘people typically “give up” pursuing their New Year resolutions within the first month’ (Dickson et al 2021:1) of the new year due to an individual’s lack of goal flexibility and tenacity. A range of hidden implications – minor yet passive-level problems – arise out of an individual not sticking to their resolutions: so let’s dissect our modern problem with commitment.

Unsurprisingly, some of the most common goals focus predominantly on diet and exercising. Year after year these resolutions are dropped due to any sense of motivation being shut down during the holiday period and are pushed aside amongst day-to-day obstacles:

‘As with personal goals, New Year resolutions typically require people to take goal-congruent actions, to sustain pursuit in the face of setbacks and obstacles, whilst resisting the pull of competing goals to achieve the desired outcome(s)…
This research suggests that goal flexibility and tenacity each independently predict wellbeing’ (Dickson et al 2021:1–2).

            Meaning: whilst we strive to plan – and are ever-so eager to create these fresh goals that make us feel fulfilled and excited for the coming year – our fixed-mindset ultimately suffocates any motivation and may affect an individual's wellbeing as a result. 

            And it’s not just a lone lived experience, either. Ditch New Year’s Resolutions Day is celebrated on January 17 across the globe as a “no-guilt” day to ditch any unrealistic goals. Whilst an upbeat way to forgo any New Year’s commitments, it is the problematic excitement from the media that force us to relish in the idea of giving up.

            The Holiday Insights webpage provides readers with information about international holidays, writing that New Year’s resolutions are ‘a stressful burden’ and promotes “celebrating” the day by:

                        ‘It’s simple, stop making attempts at accomplishing those impossible tasks.

                        If you wrote your New Year’s resolutions on a piece of paper, hold a
                        resolution burning ceremony. Throw the list in the fireplace’


            Whilst on the surface the writers joke around about the holiday, the language used passively positions the reader to align with the values of the “holiday”: to ditch any newfound goals. Word choices such as ‘impossible’ are key in highlighting the complicated nature of New Year’s resolutions.

            ‘Personal goals are defined as cognitive representation of desired positive outcomes that involve striving toward the positive outcome,’ however with ditching a goal that would produce a sense of achievement – a sense of positivity – resolutions are ‘implicated in mental wellbeing’ (Dickson et al 2021:1–2). The researchers assume that ‘flexible goal pursuit’ – the ability to be flexible and maintain self-encouragement whilst upholding New Year’s resolutions – ‘is associated with higher levels of mental wellbeing’ (Dickson et al 2021:11).

            So! Ignore any impulsive thoughts to just “give up” this New Year, and work towards maintaining your resolutions for the better.


Recommended Reads: 

Mindset by Dr Carol Dweck
Dive in to a psychoanalysis of the human mindset and its power. Dweck explains how different approaches to a fixed or growth mindset affect accomplishments and foster self-esteem. The author examines how we can both motivate children to maintain the right mindset, as well as helps the reader to understand how they may read their own personal and professional goals.
Available from the City Campus library.






Skills for Success: personal development and employability by Stella Cottrell 
Targeted towards students, each chapter encourages readers to think reflectively about personal, academic, and career goals and to plan a path to success. Over 12 chapters, Cottrell examines topics such as self-management, people skills, problem-solving and task management, thinking outside of the box, and more.
Available from the East Campus library.





Emotional Intelligence: Communicate better, achieve more, be happier by Christine Wilding 
This book combines detailed, practical application of emotional intelligence principles along with insights from the fields of mindfulness and positive psychology to promote a positive lifestyle. The text summarises how emotional intelligence is a way of developing a well-balanced thoughtfulness in our lives and how behaviour can create a positive influence on our surroundings; perfect to understand how your resolutions are better in the big-picture.
Available from the City Campus library.





Words by Ashlee Simpson, Digital & Library Engagement Officer.

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Dickson M, Moberly N, Preece D, Dodd A, Huntley D (2021) ‘Self-Regulatory Goal Motivational Process in Sustained New Year Resolution Pursuit and Mental Wellbeing’ in International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health,

Holiday Insights (2022) ‘Ditch New Year’s Resolutions Day’ in Holiday Insights, retrieved December 12 2022.