January, the Monday of the year, offers humanity a fresh slate to start anew and make a positive change until the earth rotates around the sun once again.
And while the custom as old as 2000 B.C. is still widely honored to this day, the trends are shifting.
Forbes reports that in 2023, up to 45% of Americans chose to prioritize their mental health. In comparison, the most common resolution in 2010 was body-focused – Stanford University reported that most goals were exercising or going on a new diet.
While making resolutions is common to many, little is talked about why.
One of the founders of sensa , Dainius Jakucionis, M.D., aims to explain the underlying reasons for making and keeping up with New Year's resolutions.
The psychology behind resolutions
Today, everything requires time, dedication, and attention. Focusing on career goals, relationships, and daily activities becomes a tedious routine instead of an aspiration.
In a way, life starts running on an automated cycle.
According to Jakucionis, New Year's resolutions come in handy when you need to stop and think about what you actually want in life:“The new year comes, and goal-setting along with it. The start of something new helps you reflect and decide what you want to achieve.”
The psychotherapist agrees that resolutions for the upcoming year are beneficial while working through daily chores and errands. It allows people to perceive life on a larger scale without being interrupted by tedious routines.
“It helps to dream about your future and who you want to become as a person,” says Jakucionis.
He also points out that there's no need to set resolutions just because everyone else does:“It makes no difference if you set goals on New Year's Eve or a random Tuesday. Setting them is what makes them work, not the timing.”
Why do people fail to achieve New Year goals
Deciding to begin a self-improvement journey is an excellent start to the new year. However, most are already familiar with the struggle of following through with the plan.
According to a 2016 Society for Personality and Social Psychology report, only 9% of the 41% of Americans who made resolutions felt that they were successful in keeping them, which means that only around 1 in 5 people who had resolutions were successful in working toward them.
Jakucionis says that there are 3 main reasons for failed resolutions:
Failing to remember what goals were set
Goals are too complex, vague, or there aren't enough resources to achieve them
Not developing a system for consistent working toward the goal
According to the psychotherapist, it's not enough to say,“I will become healthier,” as it gives no accountability. He points out that making your goals clear, having a system, and tracking your progress make the most significant difference.
How to stick with resolutions
To make the goals stick, the mental health specialist at Sensa suggests making them habitual:“Do something for your goals every day. This way, it will become a part of your life.”
For example, crossing out a day in the calendar for each nicotine-free day could be a daily activity for a resolution to quit smoking.
“Be creative and find ways to implement your resolution to your routine,” says Jakucionis.
Those among the 45% of people who chose to improve their mental health this year could start therapy or use self-help apps as a long-term commitment to the resolution.
The psychotherapist points out that by spending 15–25 minutes learning and working daily, people can make lifelong changes by making caring for their well-being a habit.
“For example, the idea behind Sensa is that it helps you make self-improvement a habit. Taking a few minutes every day to learn and practically apply your knowledge can make a massive difference in just a couple of months,” says Jakucionis.
He also notes that it's normal to experience setbacks and go slow:“Motivation fluctuates – that's perfectly normal. Some days, just writing down how you feel or taking a mindful walk can be a step toward the right direction.”
According to Jakucionis, the key to achieving resolutions is sticking to the plan, tracking progress, and celebrating small victories along the way.
Making mental health a priority
sensa is based on cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), one of the most commonly used and proven techniques to improve multiple mental health conditions. CBT treatment's primary goal is to change a person's thought process. After all, these tendencies are why negative emotions and behavioral patterns occur.
Sensa is part of kilo health , a leading digital health and wellness company with +4 million customers worldwide. As of 2022, it's the second fastest-growing company in Europe on the ft 1,000 ranking .