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Why New Year's resolutions may be good for your mental health

male student wearing glasses looking up thoughtfully while writing in a journal

The New Year is often a time for new beginnings and fresh slates.

Every year, millions of people around the world partake in the annual ritual of setting New Year’s resolutions.

The pandemic has been challenging for everyone, but creating New Year’s resolutions can serve an important purpose in instilling hope and optimism.

According to a poll by Ipsos for Global News, approximately 67% of Canadians are generally feeling optimistic about 2022, despite concerns regarding their financial well-being, COVID-19 and other circumstances.

In today’s trying times, New Year’s resolutions are especially relevant and may have benefits.


Resolutions combat pandemic fatigue and support mental health

Pandemic fatigue is a very real, “natural and expected reaction to sustained and unresolved adversity in people’s lives” and leads them to feeling demotivated, frustrated and depressed. While many Canadians are feeling pandemic fatigue right now, setting resolutions is one way to combat it.

For many individuals, New Year’s resolutions help give a sense of hope and something to work towards.

“From a mental health point of view, it’s extremely important that we set some goals and try to have some resolutions that are going to work for us and are going to help us find meaning and joy and fun,” David Dozois, a professor of psychology at the University of Western Ontario, told The Globe and Mail

He said that having a goal to work toward will help people overcome the feeling that every day is the same.


Resolutions foster a sense of control and purpose

In a report by the World Health Organization (WHO), it said that “humans have an essential need to feel in control of their own lives, and when this autonomy is threatened, motivation is easily lost.”

New Year’s resolutions help people to foster a sense of control through actions like planning, carrying out and achieving their resolutions.

Resolutions also instill an excitement in people to make a difference in their lives. By committing to a resolution, a sense of purpose is restored and allows them to focus on habits that centre on self-care and self-love.


Resolutions support personal and professional development

New Year’s resolutions also support personal and professional development.

Resolutions are much like goals that help people become better versions of themselves. Establishing achievable goals allows them to work towards developing themselves personally and professionally.

In recent years, some of the most popular New Year’s resolutions among Canadians were to exercise more, save more money, eat healthier, spend more time with friends and family, lose weight, reduce stress and learn a skill.

For people eager to advance their careers, taking on a new skill is a common professional development resolution.

University Canada West’s micro-credential programs are an opportunity to develop those skills. These micro-credentials in technology, business and innovation help students gain valuable and specific skills in a short amount of time. Some courses include Blockchain Entrepreneurship, Certified Digital Marketing Professional, Corporate Social Responsibility, Online E-Commerce, Social Media Marketing and more.

For a full list of micro-credentials, visit ucanwest.ca/micro-credentials.

Published on Jan. 11, 2022.