How New Year resolutions give us hope

Thinking up and following a New Year resolution can act as an indicator of hope says the Chair of the Society's Division of Counselling Psychology.

Peter Martin points out that these resolutions can be particularly useful as they show people are willing to rectify aspects of themselves or their community that may have once been fine but have since headed off track.

Mr Martin likened such loss of control among individuals to pylons that carry sagging wires and have just enough slack before being upheld at regular intervals.

He explained, however, that naivety about the permanence of resolutions - typical examples of which include a desire to stop smoking or to lose weight - may act as an immunisation against despair.

"It is easy to zigzag between optimism and hopeless pessimism. Resolutions are at best a mediator between the two,"

Mr Martin went on to point out, adding the inspiration of hope remains a primary goal of both therapy and self-therapy.