How to Make (and Break) New Year’s Resolutions

By Kole Lawrence (He/Him)

Counselling and Support Services Coordinator

For many of us, New Year’s feels like a fresh start. When we turned the page on 2021, many of us were thinking about what resolutions we were going to make for 2022. Resolutions can be amazing guides for helping us become better people, but it’s important to remember that it’s also okay to break them. 

It’s helpful to remember that January 1st is really just like any other day.

Every day, we get the chance to start building better habits and start doing away with the bad ones. While the start of a new year feels uniquely special for envisioning what our lives can look like, try to remember that each day we have the opportunity to grow and become better. 

Experts say that the best way to form new habits or resolutions is to attach them to already-existing habits.

So for example, if one of your new year’s resolutions was to read a novel for 15 minutes each night before you go to sleep, then the way you might reinforce this behaviour would be to place a book on your pillow after waking up each day. Whether you recognize them or not, your life is probably full of habits, so the trick is to identify those habits and layer desired ones into your routines. 

The important thing to remember about making habits is that it’s okay to break them.

If you’re like most people, then you might feel guilty after breaking one or all of your new year’s resolutions. Experts say that this sense of guilt doesn’t help you to reinforce your desired habits. Instead, you should view your slip-up as a learning opportunity. In other words, try to understand what caused your slip-up and become familiar with the chain of events that followed. That way, in the future, you’ll be better equipped to identify and break this behavioural pattern.

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