A New Year, A New You
By Simone Moolman
It’s the start of a brand new year and whether it’s getting into shape, making more money or breaking bad habits, we’re all making New Year’s resolutions. Approximately 75% of us make some kind of promise to self-improve, yet somehow only 10% of us follow through by week three. So what is it about the New Year that makes us want to improve ourselves? What is the psychology surrounding the tradition and how can we stick to our resolutions?
January is a time of reflection and an opportunity for renewal, named after the Roman God Janus, the protector of gates and doorways. His image depicts two faces, one face looks into the past and the other into the future. Looking back at the previous year we are given the chance to reflect on our mistakes, but also envision the future possibility of achieving more and reaching our highest potential.
While often tradition has to do with culture, the New Year gives us time to collectively reflect and assess. The end of the year marks a time when we come together and announce what we want for ourselves and together state the positive directions we wish to follow.
This creates a collective consciousness, a term originally defined by sociologist Émile Durkheim to explain the powerful force that occurs when society comes together through a common goal. Studies have shown that we are deeply affected by those around us and our collective excitement surrounding the New Year helps create a stronger determination for reaching our potential. It’s certainly no secret that when we put our minds to it we can achieve some phenomenal things.
Unfortunately, most of us give up on our resolutions by the time February comes around and the initial enthusiasm from January has worn off, this is because willpower alone is not enough to fully achieve what we set out for ourselves. Ego depletion is the concept that we have a limited mental resource when it comes to self-control. Willpower alone can only last so long. In contrast, vitality is the concept of self-regulation, using our energy more sustainably, by achieving our goals successfully over time.
There is a famous Chinese proverb that reads, "The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now." So the best way to achieve success and long-lasting resolutions is to choose ones that can be achieved step by step, over a long period, but take the first step now, no matter how small.
So ask yourself, what you can dedicate your time to that will show the best results over time. Well a great example, which also happens to be one of the top self-improvement methods, is furthering our education. Educating oneself, not only leads to a qualification, it opens us to further job opportunities, better pay and a whole new network of peers and business opportunities. Education is a fantastic motivational tool that brings vast rewards through the inspiration of others and daily self-dedication. Most institutions offer short courses as well as full degrees. So whether you’re looking to dip your toe into something new or further your current knowledge, finding a Higher Learning institute may be the best step towards successful self-improvement.
There are plenty of options out there, but one that stood out the most in 2020 was Cornerstone Institute. They offer an exciting range of programmes and most notably give you the option of studying online or on campus, providing the freedom of fitting your studies into life in a way that suits you.
With an array of full and part-time Honours and Bachelors in Psychology, Media Studies and Sociology, BCOMs in Software Development, Sport and Art Management, Higher Certificates in Community Development and Post Graduate Certificate’s in Education you may be spoiled for choice. But whatever you go for will certainly make for positive change in the long run. If you're interested in long lasting advancement through education, perhaps visit their website at www.cornerstone.ac.za
Whichever way you choose to improve in the next year, make sure to be consistent and focused on your end goal and 2021 may be your best year yet. Break your goals into smaller steps and stay motivated by the end result so that when December comes around you can look back and marvel at your achievements.