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Description: I have really never been one to make New Years Resolutions. That said I have, over the years, noted the sense of renewal and new starts that accompany the annual calendar turnover. Some of that is a general part of the year as the fall seems to contain a focused slide down to the holiday season after which the New Year seems just that: New. The academic year fits in with this as the fall term heats up and winds down by the holiday season and the winter term feels like a new fresh start early in the new year. So, does this explain why so many of us make resolutions to change some aspects of our behavior and/or our goals this time of year and even if it does, why do most of us (60 to 70%) fail to follow through on our resolutions? Think for a moment about why that might be the case (psychologically speaking) and about what we might do to succeed with our resolutions (maybe not make any?) and then give the article linked below a read to see what psychologists suggest in this area.

Source: The Psychology Behind New Year’s Resolutions, Michelle Konstantinovsky, WebMD.

Date: January 3, 2023

Image by Simon from Pixabay

Article Link:

So, was the article helpful? Goal setting is a very useful thing to practice as you move through the world, whether you do it at New Years or all year round. Following the SMART approach to setting goals will help you get started realistically, stay on track, allow you to make adjustments when challenges or issues arise (and they will arise) and will help you build in some checks along the way so you can be assured that you are making progress. How about if, instead of making specific resolutions right now you resolve to find out more about SMART goals and use what you learn to plan your new year? Now THAT would be an effective resolution!

Questions for Discussion:

  1. What proportion of people who make New Year’s resolutions accomplish them?
  2. Why do people make New Year’s resolutions?
  3. What are SMART goals and what are you going to do to find out more about them in THIS New Year?

References (Read Further):

Oscarsson, M., Carlbring, P., Andersson, G., & Rozental, A. (2020). A large-scale experiment on New Year’s resolutions: Approach-oriented goals are more successful than avoidance-oriented goals. PLoS One, 15(12), e0234097. Link

Harkin, B., Webb, T. L., Chang, B. P., Prestwich, A., Conner, M., Kellar, I., … & Sheeran, P. (2016). Does monitoring goal progress promote goal attainment? A meta-analysis of the experimental evidence. Psychological bulletin, 142(2), 198. Link

Duckworth, A. L., Milkman, K. L., & Laibson, D. (2018). Beyond willpower: Strategies for reducing failures of self-control. Psychological Science in the Public Interest, 19(3), 102-129. Link

Koestner, R. (2008). Reaching one’s personal goals: A motivational perspective focused on autonomy. Canadian Psychology/Psychologie Canadienne, 49(1), 60. Link

Lawlor, K. B. (2012). Smart goals: How the application of smart goals can contribute to achievement of student learning outcomes. In Developments in business simulation and experiential learning: Proceedings of the annual ABSEL conference (Vol. 39). Link

Haughey, D. (2014). A brief history of SMART goals. Project Smart Website. https://www. projectsmart. co. uk/brief-history-of-smart-goals. php. Link

Sull, D., & Sull, C. (2018). With goals, FAST beats SMART. MIT Sloan Management Review, 59(4), 1-11. Link