Many people will make New Year’s resolutions, however the majority will also fail to achieve them. But making resolutions is still a good idea—with plenty of positive effects.


There are plenty of good reasons to make New Year's resolutions./Getty Images


Data from YouGovAmerica suggests about a quarter of Americans will make resolutions, and most people think they’ll accomplish them—20% in fact. Most people are optimistic, with 86% expecting 2022 to be the same or better than 2021. And the younger people are, the more optimistic they are about the future.

The most popular New Year’s resolutions are about self improvement:

  • living healthier 23%
  • getting happy 21%
  • losing weight 20%
  • exercising 7%
  • stopping smoking 5%
  • reducing drinking 2%

In addition, people resolve to meet career or job goals (16%) and improve their relationships (11%). Despite their big plans though, only 8% of people will achieve their New Year’s resolutions. This is according to a study by the University of Scranton.

But all is not lost.

Why It’s Smart to Make New Year’s Resolutions

Even if you don’t keep resolutions, it’s a really good idea to make them anyway. Here’s why:

  1. Intention — Being honest with yourself about your current condition and the distance to your preferred situation is key to improvement. And being intentional about how you want to grow and develop will help you achieve results. This intentionality will also contribute to your happiness and fulfillment . When you’re moving forward with clear direction, you make a positive contribution to your emotional and mental health.
  2. Hope and Engagement — Making New Year’s resolutions is inherently hopeful and optimistic. You expect things can get better for you, for your work experience or for your community. This positive view of the future, in turn, tends to motivate action. If you don’t believe tomorrow can be better, you’re unlikely to take steps to improve yourself or your community. So optimism is doubly beneficial—contributing to your own mental health, but also engaging you toward positive action which has an effect on those around you.
  3. Responsibility — Most New Year’s resolutions have some impact on others. Even if they are about individual self-improvement, they affect families, friends, colleagues and communities. Your resolution to get healthy will keep you around longer for your family and friends. Your resolution to stop procrastinating will contribute to a positive team dynamic with your co-workers. And your plans to do more volunteer work at the community garden will help feed people in your locale. New Year’s resolutions are terrific ways to focus on yourself, but also to consider your broader responsibility—and to expand and multiply your positive effects on others.
  4. Inspiration — When you seek to be better, do better or contribute more fully, you tend to inspire others as well. The primary way people learn is through experiencing the behavior of others. Even if they’re not consciously aware of it, people pick up on choices and cues from others—constantly. When you focus on the future and focus on improvement, you necessarily inspire those around you.

In Sum

Strive to be in the minority of people who keep their New Year’s resolutions. But know even if you don’t keep every one, the act of making them and striving toward them will have positive effects for you and for others.

By Tracy Brower, Contributor

© 2022 Forbes Media LLC. All Rights Reserved

This Forbes article was legally licensed through AdvisorStream.

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Kendra Sivertson
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