The New Years resolutions are often easy to break than to keep as Peter Singer, Australian moral philosopher puts it rightly, "Sometimes we know the best thing to do, but fail to do it. New Years resolutions are often like that. We make resolutions because we know it would be better for us to lose weight, or get fit, or spend more time with our children. The problem is that a resolution is generally easier to break than it is to keep."
However, on New Year's eve, many people make resolutions to get rid of bad habits or make special effort to be more successful. It is a sort of self-vow or self-affirmation to start doing something new, something better, or stop doing something bad right from the beginning of the new year. It is popularly held that New Year resolutions can help us forge on better and avoid mistakes, which tried to hold us back in the past.
History informs that in the medieval era in the west, a collective "peacock vow" on the New Year eve was common to re-affirm ones commitment to chivalry. Even today, at Watchnight services, many Christians prepare for the year ahead by praying and making relevant resolutions for better life and behaviour as an annual self-reflective exercise for self-improvement.
According to James Ewing Ritchie and other researchers, common new years' resolutions are such as to donate to the poor more often; become more assertive; become more environmentally responsible; improve physical well-being; eat healthy food, lose weight, exercise more; drink less alcohol, quit smoking; get rid of old bad habits; improve mental well-being; think positive; get out of debt and save money; get a better job; learn a skill and improve talents; reduce stress; watch less television; do social work; spend lesser time on the Facebook; enhance social skills and make new friends; etc.
However, a recent study by Richard Wiseman from the University of Bristol involving 3,000 people showed that 88% of those who set New Year resolutions fail. According to Guy Winch, the reason most of us fail to stick to our New Year's resolutions has nothing to do with our strength of character or our willpower. "Rather, it is because we neglect to think through how we plan to achieve our goals. Indeed, we tend to make five very basic but crucial errors that put the kibosh on our efforts before we even start," asserts Winch.
I too personally feel, on one can ever change because a new year is coming up. On the other hand, one should change for ones own improvement or personal growth. No matter what resolution is made at any time, it should be well planned and executed with sincerity. New Year's resolutions are pointless as revealed by studies because most people only stick to them for a while and then go back to their old habits.