A Positive Twist on New Year’s Resolutions

Keeping the big picture in mind is especially important this time of year. It is worth taking a moment to pause during the busy holiday season and think about what matters most. If planning on making a New Year’s resolution for 2021, consider doing it with a twist.

Instead of fixing a weakness or flaw, focus on something you are good at instead. It’s hard to commit to an activity, like dieting, without any pleasure or reinforcement along the way. Think of all the failed diets and lapsed gym memberships from years past. It’s a lot easier to commit to something you’re good at and that comes naturally. If you love art, make a resolution to visit a gallery or museum once a week. If you enjoy reading, join a book club.

Jonathan Haidt, author, professor, and psychologist, reminds us in his book The Happiness Hypothesis that we don’t have to be good at everything:

Life offers so many chances to use one tool instead of another, and often you can use a strength to get around a weakness.

To identify your strengths take the VIA Survey of Character Strengths. According to the survey, gratitude is my top strength. Instead of making a New Year’s resolution to stop eating chocolate, my plan is to write one thank you letter every week.

I wish you all the best,

Dr. Samantha Boardman