It’s no surprise that many of us are terrible at sticking to our New Year’s resolutions. And yet, we keep making them, year after year. Why do we do it? Are we masochists?
It’s certainly possible to re-engage with a goal and succeed on a subsequent try. There’s also something to be said for that feeling of starting anew: excitement, uncertainty, optimism. A fresh reset. Setting and pursuing a goal can also lead to other meaningful experiences: newly discovered interests and values, chance encounters, or a newfound sense of self-compassion and determination. It also allows us to connect with friends and bond over shared goals or a commitment to supporting each other.
Having someone we can turn to for support can make setting New Year’s resolutions significantly more enjoyable and keep us motivated and accountable. That said, although the support we receive from friends has the potential to be hugely influential, not all types are created equal. Some can even be quite counterproductive. Yet it’s not always easy to spot the difference between actions that help and those that hinder, regardless of whether we’re giving or receiving support.