Much of the positive energy and goodwill around New Year is wasted on making resolutions that we won’t keep, according to a new project aimed at changing the way we think about New Year’s resolutions.
‘Resolution Revolution’, an initiative launched today by the British Humanist Association (BHA), encourages an evidence-based approach to how we can really reform habits, but the project also wants to redirect that New Year feeling outward, with ‘Revolutionaries’ resolving to do good for others rather than just themselves.
The initiative aims to get more people volunteering and doing things to help others in support of a more cohesive society.
A ‘feel-good’ (literally) story
According to leading psychologist and resolutions expert Professor John Norcross at the University of Scranton, Pennsylvania, joining Resolution Revolution this New Year will also help ‘Revolutionaries’ beat the January blues and feel better about themselves. Professor Norcross commented, ‘Setting and reaching a meaningful New Year’s resolution results in increased self-confidence and improved health… Altruistic New Year’s resolutions succeed on two counts: the individual resolver and the greater community.’
Resolution Revolutionaries will be encouraged to think again about how to make effective resolutions using an evidence-based approach and advice on how to genuinely change and stick to their resolutions, supported by a reminders-based system from the Resolution Revolution website. And instead of stopping drinking, smoking and biting their nails, visitors to the Resolution Revolution website are encouraged to pledge to do something for others; ‘sweep a neighbour’s icy path’, ‘volunteer with a local charity’ or ‘carry an organ donor card’. The emphasis is very much on things we can do rather than things we can pay for or donate to.
The website offers ideas for these ‘social resolutions’, as well as the opportunity to see what others are doing, to make pledges and then tell the world how it worked out. There will be regular updates for participants so that they can see what has happened so far and ensure the momentum is maintained.
Welcoming the initiative, President of the British Humanist Association, columnist and broadcaster Polly Toynbee, said: ‘New Year is a time for renewal – but beyond diets and gyms, not just for ourselves. Resolution Revolution is a humanist social action initiative, turning good intentions outwards to others. The more people that get involved, even in a small way, the bigger the impact is. Spending cuts don’t make a cohesive society, but generous actions do.’
David Nobbs, creator of Reggie Perrin and bestselling novelist, said: ‘Such a simple idea, but brilliant. It turns the whole tradition on its head, and can make takers into givers at a stroke.’
The New Year is part of the secular calendar which we all share and not distinctive to any particular religion or non-religious world view. This project reflects that and is open to all, regardless of philosophical views.
Packs are available for interested schools and community groups including lesson plans, posters, pledge charts and badges.
For further comment or information about Resolution Revolution, contact Joanne Knowles at firstname.lastname@example.org or on 020 7079 3586.
One of the main perspectives of the humanist approach is that individual responsibility, social cooperation and mutual respect are vital. By taking positive action, people can solve the problems of society by actively engaging with each other and basing their actions on shared human values.
The Resolution Revolution website is at http://resolution-revolution.org.uk
To run a pilot project at a school see humanism.org.uk/resolution-revolution