How to keep your New Year's resolutions

If you’ve already fallen off the bandwagon, the Chinese New Year is January 28 — just saying.

Bringing in the New Year is subject to an array of strange traditions which, depending on where you grew up or who you celebrate with, include everything from smashing plates, to hiding all the knives in the house, to entrusting your year-to-come’s fortune to the colour of your underwear. A much more common tradition is the the New Year's resolution.

Maybe the excessive eating and drinking over the holidays has made you self-conscious or all of your aunt’s nagging about your lack of a significant other has finally gotten to you. Regardless of the reason, many of us find ourselves making promises about the new us that we’ll become, but can these attempts at change be effective and if so, what does science say is the best way to go about it?

Dr. Mark Holder, who researches happiness on the Okanagan campus, advocates for our ability to engage in interventions that increase our well-being, suggesting that the first and most important step when outlining resolutions should be to adopt the attitude that your happiness is within your control. He explained that people who do so are happier and may be more likely to stick with their resolutions.

So once you have your attitude down, it's time to start thinking about what personal goal you would like to work on. When it comes to the dimension of your resolutions, according to research, it seems that happy people have more goals than unhappy people. However, what’s more important is the content of their goals.

“Happy people['s] goals tend to be more community-oriented,” said Holder.

But what if I’m an introvert and spending more time around other people is too much for me? Am I doomed to unhappiness? That brings us to the second-most important point. Keep your resolutions in line with your personality and personal goals. If you’re someone who enjoys the outdoors and your goal is to exercise more, put the two together and take on some of Vancouver’s best views. If you like the comfort of lying on your sofa in pyjamas but still want to engage with the community, maybe take up writing.

The key to your success is your attitude. Go ahead — feel free to copy and paste that into a Word document, place some obscure black and white picture in the background and print it because this time, science agrees with your Pinterest board.