By Heather Kline
The practice of making resolutions for the new year is thought to have first caught on among the ancient Babylonians, who made promises in order to earn the favor of the gods to start the year off on the right foot, according to History.com.
People around the world still practice this tradition today in order to improve and enrich their lives, albeit for their specific reason.
Changing deep-seated, bad habits is not easy; we practice the tradition of making resolutions so that we are inspired to create a better life.
In a study published by the European Journal of Social Psychology, researcher Phillippa Lally found it takes, on average, 66 days for a new behavior to take root.
Additionally, Lally stated, it takes anywhere from 18 to 254 days for people to form a new habit.
That is to say, changing habits takes time and diligence.
Several military spouses attended the USO Spouse Coffee Connection Jan. 9 at Fort Leonard Wood to discuss making New Years’ resolutions. Here are their insights:
“I do not typically make resolutions in the new year, because I try to be thoughtful and deliberate in my choices throughout the year. I am constantly reviewing and renewing my commitment to life changes, so it’s an ongoing experience for me to strive toward my goals.
I understand the commonly accepted practice of timing resolutions with the ‘clean slate’ of a new year. However, I like to evaluate and reflect more often than once per year.”
“I don’t really do resolutions in the traditional sense. The military lifestyle is a hectic one, and it’s not often that we can predict where we will be at the end of the year. I prefer taking a short-term approach, doing quarterly or monthly goals instead of annual ones.
They are generally easier to achieve and can be oriented toward long-term progress. Any long-term resolutions need to be flexible, just like everything else that comes with the lifestyle.”
“I do not make resolutions. I believe in living in the moment and going with the flow of life. I choose to focus on the things that matter.
I think resolutions do matter to some people. It’s good to set goals for yourself. I believe that you should always be trying to improve and better yourself, not just once a year.”
“I put too much pressure on myself, all or nothing. If I slipped up or failed, I’d be hard on myself. I realized most of my resolutions were self-improvement, however it’s an ongoing process.
Now I use resolutions as an opportunity for a fresh, new start. Set realistic goals with measurable benchmarks. Even little moves are celebrated. Positivity keeps me motivated.
Keeping a positive inner dialogue helps — speaking to myself with encouragement and kindness works, too. It’s OK to rest when you need a break. Remember, baby steps are forward movement.”
“I believe in resolutions, in the sense that setting goals for the future is so important. But I feel resolutions aren’t enough — we need to put our resolutions in motion, meaning, we set our intentions and make action plans.
Knowing what we want and how to get it will help us stay on the path to reaching our goals. When life challenges our efforts, working from a space of intention will help us stay true to ourselves and motivated to follow the plan, trusting in the timing that we’ll soon have what we believe we should have.”
“Yes, I make a resolution and call it a goal or accomplishment because one way or another, we have to take a step forward in life. Without making a difference and positive influence in this world, we are just sort of like a wind drifting by with no direction.
As part of being human on this planet, it is imperative to have determination and purpose, not only to myself but to help and serve others in need. For me, I would like to be involved and extend my time serving churches, be in a prayer warrior team and go on a mission trip.”
Whether you believe in making a resolution or not, the power of change belongs to you. Where do you see yourself at the conclusion of 2020?
The choice is yours.