Resolutions: pros and cons of New Year commitments

Alexia Sanchez and Juliana Stagner

PRO — The healthy benefits of a New Year’s resolution

by Alexia Sanchez

Making a New Year’s Resolution is something many people take part in at the start of the New Year. It’s a positive way to start the year because you have new inspiration to meet a goal that is important to you. 

In Comfort Zone Shake-Up, a website focused on positive mindsets, they explain that there are four different benefits to making a New Year’s resolution which are motivation, taking control, sense of achievement, and self-esteem. Author, Federica Cascia, said in one paragraph that New Year’s resolutions keep us motivated to take action in our lives. This motivation can give us a sense of accomplishment and give additional motivation.

In The Atlantic, a website on all news and health, they wrote an article, New Year’s Resolutions That Will Actually Lead to Happiness. They explain how if self-improvement goals were so easy, people wouldn’t need to make resolutions. People make the goals because they believe it will have an impact on their life, but they fail because they don’t set a goal for greater happiness. The four habits that help to succeed on resolutions are practicing self-liberation, rewarding oneself for ongoing success, avoiding temptations, and positive thinking. The reason explained for resolution failure is negative thinking. The key to a successful resolution is positive motivation. 

The Atlantic explains how BJ Fogg’s book Tiny Habits gives great advice to keep in mind. “Fogg shows that to build good new habits—the key to a successful resolution—we need to reduce, implement, and celebrate. That is, reduce new behaviors to something small and manageable, like committing to start by doing two push-ups a day if you are out of shape (not 100); finding where in your routine the new behaviors fit best (do your two push-ups right after breakfast, for example); and then celebrating each day after practicing the behavior (but perhaps not by having a second breakfast).” 

The Atlantic suggests two direct ways to gain a happy resolution: forgiveness and gratitude. In an experiment they did they found that forgiving helps direct happiness, and it helps lower anxiety and depression while boosting hope and self-esteem. A study in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology noted that two groups of people were asked to start gratitude journals. One group was asked to list things they were grateful for that week while the other was asked to list things that irritated them. Ten weeks later they found that the first group was feeling better physically and were more optimistic about their next week. 

The Atlantic suggests that it’s more successful to improve your happiness, letting that motivate you rather than forcing yourself to exercise. 

Some great, healthy resolutions Choosing Therapy, a website focused on new healthy habits, found that instead of resolutions to set goals, goals can be cut down to sub-goals. As well as writing down everything you are grateful for that week or whenever is best for you, that is called gratitude practice which helps you become happier. Reason being is that studies show that being grateful increases happiness. In addition to that, complement yourself, stay in a positive mindset and even compliment strangers or friends. This helps you appreciate and be more grateful for the people around you.

 Having a healthy New Years’ resolution could benefit you in having a healthy future.  


CON: Are New Year’s resolutions actually beneficial?

by Juliana Stagner

“3,2,1, Happy New Year!” As the new year begins, it’s time to make goals for yourself and to make a resolution to better yourself in a different year. But are resolutions toxic? 

According to The Healthy, a website about health statistics, the most common resolutions are to get in shape and to lose weight. With so many people having this goal it can put pressure on people, especially those recovering from eating disorders, to lose weight and change their appearance. Resolutions are also a huge part of diet culture. 

Diet culture is a very big part of our world right now, especially on social media. Diet culture is a set of beliefs that values thinness, appearance, and shape above health & well-being. So pretty much being skinny matters more than being healthy. 

Recently on TikTok, there has been this trend going around where you show what you eat in a day. These videos get millions of views, especially from a younger audience. The majority of these videos show thin women eating barely anything. The comments under the videos are young girls who feel like they have to eat way less than their body needs. 

Arielle Weg, an author for the website Prevention, talked about her experience with dieting and why she stopped making it her resolution. She writes “My brain works the way it does today because I grew up as a chubby kid in the midst of an unforgiving ’90s diet culture. I was on diets before I probably knew what dieting even meant, and I was hyper-aware of my body size…” said Weg. Diet culture has been around for a long time and has created so many diets over the years. 

According to U.S. News, the most popular diets that have surfaced online and on social media are ketogenic, paleo, and Mediterranean diets. All of these diets are different variations of foods that you can’t eat with the purpose of losing weight. They all force you to limit yourself to certain foods and can even do more damage. These are the diets that are being encouraged in the new year. 

The ketogenic diet, also known as keto, is the idea of getting calories from protein and fat instead of carbs. You restrict foods like sugar, soda, pastries, and white bread. Most people on the keto diet are on it because of either low blood sugar or they want to lose weight. This diet is mostly healthy but can cause kidney stones, nutrient deficiencies, and low blood pressure.  

Another huge diet is the paleo diet, which is based on foods that were eaten during the Paleolithic era. So like lean meat, fish, and vegetables. But most people are at risk for deficiencies in calcium and vitamin D, which are critical to bone health. This can also increase the risk of kidney and heart disease. 

The last diet that new websites are recommending is a diet called the Mediterranean diet. This is the new most popular diet which is based on the eating habits of Greece and Italy. With this diet, you can gain more weight and have calcium loss. 

Even if these diets help you lose weight, they are also adding problems to your body and health. These diets should not be pushed in the new year. No diet should be pushed for resolutions. 

This brings me back to the question; are resolutions toxic? I believe that resolutions can be good but all the pressure it brings to those struggling with eating makes resolutions bad. No person should feel like they have to lose weight. 

Wanting to lose weight is not a bad thing and there are good ways to do this, but restricting certain foods is not the way to do it. With diet culture all over social media, these diets are popping up everywhere you look. It is important during these times to take care of yourself and do what is right for you. There is no need to make a resolution that will make you worse.