Instead, You Must Accept the “old Year Decision”
The whole concept of feeling pressured to come up with an important goal or project to take on when the calendar year changes has some serious flaws, many of which we’ve covered at Lifehacker over the years (including earlier this month ) .
If you’re not in the right mood, New Year’s resolutions are usually empty: things you say to other people (or yourself) because you feel obligated to do so. Or maybe you’re serious about making a New Year’s resolution, but vowed to do something so big or difficult to accomplish that you’re basically doomed to failure.
That’s why you’d better make an “old year decision” if you want to do self-improvement in the new year. That’s why.
How to set (and stick to) old year permissions
Essentially, the old year resolution is a way of recognizing and accepting that failure is a natural part of the self-improvement process, as opposed to the all-or-nothing approach that officially starts on or after January 1st.
According to Christina Downey, professor of psychology at Indiana University, and Mark Canada, executive vice chancellor for academic affairs at Indiana University Kokomo, who wrote an article about old solutions for The Conversation in 2021, here’s what to do:
First, determine what positive changes you would like to make in your life, but not so drastic that it is too difficult to start them.
Then get to work right now: don’t wait until January 1st.
Yes, 2023 is only a few days away, but Downey and Canada say the point of the old year decision is to give yourself time to practice accepting the change.
“Track your progress,” they write . “You can stumble from time to time, but here’s the thing: you’re just practicing.”
Downey and Canada recommend thinking of last year’s decision as a rehearsal for a play or a sporting bout: Sure, you want to do well, but the whole point is to get some low-stakes experience in preparation for the real thing. where failures are expected and accepted.
Then treat January 1 as you would any other practice period day. In fact, when it comes to deciding your old year, feel free to ignore the calendar entirely. The idea is to make it easier for you to make a lifestyle change and give yourself grace if/when you fail, no matter the date.