Conducted by: Frances Montanez, Senior Social Worker

                         Treena Tan, Senior Counsellor
Conducted on: 17 January 2015

Making New Year resolutions (NYR) is a universal behaviour. According to the New Year’s Resolution Statistics by the Journal of Clinical Psychology dated January 2014, the top five NYR are: lose weight, get organised, spend less/save more, enjoy life and stay healthy. The same journal also stated that 45% of Americans usually go through the exercise of making NYR but only 8% reported being successful in achieving their resolutions. Why is achieving resolutions so fraught with obstacles? In general, resolutions do not work when there are too many of them. In addition, making vague and unrealistic resolutions also sets one up for disappointments. 


So what is a resolution? 


The word “resolution” has its origins in the late 14th century, stemming from the Latin word “resolutionem” (nominative resolution) which means "process of reducing things to simpler forms". In modern day English, the other synonyms for resolution include but are not restricted to:

1. Determination

2. Perseverance

3. Tenacity

4. Strength 

5. Fortitude


On 17 January 2015, Whispering Hearts Family Service Centre conducted the first EPC (Enhancing Positive Changes) workshop for the year. The topic, MY RESOLUTIONS was aptly chosen. With reference to the study above, the main objective of the workshop was to make resolutions that actually worked through the simple framework of WPD! (Write It! Plan It! Do It!). The workshop was attended by 16 participants, some of whom exhibited prior knowledge of the topic (hence reinforcing the notion that making resolutions is not something new!).


Before we move on to the framework, let’s take a look at why people continue to make resolutions even when they pose such a struggle to attain and sustain. From a Symbolic Interaction angle, the notion of resolution symbolises hope – it is about making positive changes. Therefore, making a resolution is akin to purposeful planning, entailing a sense of commitment and dedication. When a resolution is done effectively, it can change one’s life. 


The prevalent question from the participants of the workshop was how to succeed in their resolutions. Here are some tips on how you can plan, act on and subsequently sustain your resolutions: 

• Select your goal(s) 

• Know your reasons for wanting it/them 

• State each goal as a positive statement

• Set realistic performance goals, not outcome goals

• Break your goals down to make them simpler

• Be precise

• Set priorities

• Create an action plan

• Take action

• Appoint a buddy

• Check in regularly with your buddy

• Last but not least - Keep your Eye on the Goals


Let us know how your resolution-making attempt has worked out so far! 


Have a happy and safe 2015!