As the first month of 2024 comes to a close, many people around the world will be looking back on their New Year’s resolutions made not long ago and wondering what indeed happened to them. The phrase ‘New Year new me’ had been uttered with such conviction. There is nothing to be ashamed of- according to Forbes British New Year's Resolutions Statistics of 2024, 21% of resolutions only last for the first month. So, why do we make New Year's resolutions in the first place?

This is the question I posed to Mrs. H. Larkin, who holds a BSc from Cardiff University and currently teaches A-Level Psychology. She speculated, ‘It could be argued people make New Year’s resolutions due to their desire to achieve a state of congruence: so their ideal self and the perceived self are in alliance’. The start of a new calendar on the fridge is a marker of positive growth as we take a moment to reflect on what has changed in ourselves since last year’s celebrations, both good and bad. A good example is the 2 in 5 people of those participating who aimed to exercise more and the 24% of people who wanted to reduce stress levels, as reported by Forbes.

However, Forbes also found that approximately a large 57% of people did not plan on setting any New Year’s resolutions. This begs the question: why is there not more traction on resolutions if they encourage such positive personal growth? Mrs Larkin offers the perspective of humanistic psychologists who believe, ‘people’s perceived self and ideal self are wide apart due to the conditions of worth that are put on them by their parents, peers, teachers etc’. This perspective suggests that we should focus on the overall picture of the day and how we can support each other, rather than just setting unrealistic resolutions for ourselves and expecting others to meet unrealistic standards.

Given the tumultuous political climate we find ourselves living in, we should approach our communities and friends with understanding and compassion. By doing so, we can all become better versions of ourselves. Within realistic expectations of course.