The Best Way To Approach New Year’s Resolutions As A Community Leader

By Greg Audino

Whether you’re leading a community online or in-person, you probably see New Year’s resolutions as a great way to revitalize the group and work towards a common goal. This has been the story many of us have always told ourselves, but does that mean it’s always true? Some mental health experts have pushback.

Amy Morin, psychotherapist and bestselling author, says of her clients, “Often they're not mentally ready to make the change, but the calendar is about to flip over to the new year, so they feel like they have to do something."

Jenny Koning, therapist on the mental health platform PlushCare, says, "This pressure to make a change, based on a cultural timeline like that of New Year’s Day, can set most of us up for failure because we only see it in black or white…this heightening pressure can lead to increased anxiety or depression.”

How To Know What’s Best For Your Community

Whether or not your community will benefit from classic, well-defined resolutions depends on its culture. With respect to other variables, get some clues by considering which of the following best describes your community:

  • Goal-oriented with rising engagement
  • Goal-oriented with dropping engagement
  • Not goal-oriented with rising engagement
  • Not goal-oriented with dropping engagement

If your community is goal-oriented with rising engagement or not goal-oriented with dropping engagement then creating a resolution for your group to follow, or encouraging your community members to set their own resolutions, is likely a good idea.

This is because both groups are trending in a direction that supports strong goal-setting. One is clearly benefiting from this already, and the other might be in need of some structure to shake things up.

However, if your community is goal-oriented with dropping engagement or not goal-oriented with rising engagement, the opposite is true. Communities like these may be burnt out by the idea of setting goals in general, or at least setting them at an arbitrary time like January 1st.

What To Say To Your Community Either Way

No matter which of the four descriptions they fall under, one thing that bonds all communities is a feeling of togetherness. Let your members know they have a voice and that you’re caring about them by asking them how they feel about New Year’s resolutions. Some helpful questions might be:

  • Would you rather set a goal, or an intention?
  • Would you like to make resolutions for a full year, or just a few weeks or months?
  • Would you like to make a resolution that you can ease into, or one where we’d dive right in?
  • If we make a resolution, how can we make it specific and measurable rather than vague?
  • Would you like to focus more on achieving goals, or forgiving ourselves for when we fail to achieve goals?
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