Does it really make sense to have New Year’s Resolutions?

January 1st is just a few short days away, meaning people worldwide are talking about the resolutions they plan on making for the new year. From people promising to stop smoking and eat better to learning a new language and getting out of their comfort zone, there are all kinds of different resolutions. But are they actually good for you?

At face value, new year’s resolutions seem like a great idea. How could making a commitment to improving yourself be a bad thing? It’s not often that the resolution itself is a poor idea, but the way it’s executed. Making big changes in your life takes time, no matter how dedicated you are. And quitting something entirely or completely switching up your lifestyle from January 1st won’t always have the effect you’re searching for. 

Reasons it does make sense

Stop bad habits from getting out of control

Setting a new year’s resolution can help stop addiction and the formation of bad habits. The holidays are usually a time of overindulgence. People eat too much, drink too much, smoke too much, and do too little.

Planning on improving yourself in the new year can help you enjoy the holidays, while also keeping in the back of your mind the idea that the more you indulge this season, the more difficult it will be to quit after January 1st. Stopping the pattern created over the festive season can help make sure your unhealthy habits don’t become dangerous addictions.


A lot of people make new year’s resolutions and watching those around you commit to improving themselves can inspire you to do the same. If you join a group of others making resolutions or even just talk about your new habits with your friends and family, you’ll feel more accountable than if you were making these changes alone. While you can do this at any time of year, it’s much easier to find others making major life changes on January 1st.

A fresh start

New year’s eve can feel like a magical, hopeful time when anything can happen. Although it may not be true, it makes it an excellent period to make a major life commitment to be a better person. Closing the book on one year and opening the first page of a new one helps you believe in a better tomorrow and commit yourself to make it happen. 

Reasons it doesn’t

January is tough enough

January can be a terrible time to deprive yourself of something you love that’s bad for you. For most people, January is a pretty grim month. There’s hardly any daylight, the temperature is freezing, the weather is terrible, and you find yourself stuck at home during most of your spare time. Cutting something out of your life at this point may seem a step too far and could easily have the opposite effect, pushing you to overindulge in the thing you love so much.

Too much pressure

Making a new year’s resolution can put too much pressure on you. Millions of people make new year’s resolutions each year. You probably already know what some of your friends and family are planning on changing from January 1st. Seeing how well the people around you are doing can make you feel bad if you’re struggling to commit. At the same time, watching others ditch their new year’s resolutions can make you feel better about breaking yours, too.

January 1st means nothing

The date is meaningless. While it may sound like a good idea to make a fresh start on the first day of a new year, January 1st doesn’t actually have any significant meaning. It’s not like all your cravings, bad habits, and laziness will be left behind in the previous year. You’ll still be the same old you — you’ll just have a new challenge. Making a commitment to improving yourself at another time of year, when you’re happy, comfortable, and motivated, is likely to lead to better results.

It’s up to you

We’re all different and what works every time for some people fails every time for others. If you’ve made new year’s resolutions in the past and you’ve been able to stick to them, go for it! This system clearly works for you and it’s a great way to ditch bad habits and develop healthy ones.

If you’ve found new year’s resolutions to be unsuccessful in previous years, you can always give them another shot. You never know, this year may just be your year! But if you’ve developed a better habit for improving yourself and you find it easier to stick with, we suggest not making any changes and going down that route instead. 

The information on this page is not intended to be a substitution for diagnosis, treatment, or informed professional advice. You should not take any action or avoid taking any action without consulting with a qualified mental health professional. If you are in a crisis or any other person may be in danger,  these resources can provide you with immediate help:
Suicide and Crisis Lifeline 988
24 Hour Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1.800.273.8255
Crisis Text Line Text TALK to 741741