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Yukoners’ New Year resolutions a chance to give back and focus on growth

The new year is a time when people set goals and targets and work towards meeting them
Rosie LeFebvre, who runs The Hair Lounge in Whitehorse, said she always sets new plans for the new year when it comes to the direction of her business. Giving back to the community will be a focus for 2024. (Patrick Egwu/Yukon News)

The first days of the new year can be a time for planning changes, setting goals and looking ahead.

Rosie LeFebvre, who has been running The Hair Lounge in Whitehorse for the past six years is able to facilitate a new hairstyle if that is someone’s big change to start the year, but she has also set a resolution for the business. This year, she said her hair salon will be expanding its horizons and giving back to the community.

“We are in our sixth year here and without the community, we won’t have a business,” she tells the News. “This year we want to do a lot more outreach programs and help the community.”

Last year, she said they started doing a lot of volunteer work — giving free hair cut days for the community, especially people who cannot afford to get their hair done. About 50 people benefited from the free hair services.

“I found out that our staff enjoy doing that. It just makes us feel good and makes other people feel good at the end of the day. So, I think this year we are going to dive in a little deeper and see how many people we can help.”

She said last year’s outreach program lasted for a few days. But this year, she said they will try and do it every couple months to “just open our doors to people who can’t just always afford that and work with the community.”

New year goals

LeFebvre is not alone. The new year is always an opportunity for people to set new goals and targets, make new resolutions and work towards fulfilling them. Some people set personal, health or financial goals for the new year. While some people try to keep their resolutions, the majority have struggled.

A clinical psychologist and professor of psychology at the University of British Columbia, professor Lynn Alden said the most common resolutions are getting fit, losing weight, or exercising more.

“Those are the most common and what we find is that about 90 per cent of people break their resolutions. So, it’s the norm that people don’t keep their resolutions,” she said in a Jan. 2 interview. She noted the biggest problem is that people set goals that are too big.

“You’re more likely to be successful if you set really small goals. So, rather than going to the gym and working out two hours a day, if you even during the day at home, work out for five minutes, or even one minute do lunges or squats for one minute you’re far more likely to do that.”

She said another consideration is to take satisfaction in setting small goals.

“People, if they walk for an hour, they feel like, well, tomorrow, I should walk for two hours. They shouldn’t do that. It’s much better to take a quiet sense of satisfaction. You don’t have to celebrate. But just let yourself feel pleased with what you’ve done. One thing we find is that people who are anxious and have low self-esteem, lack pride in their small accomplishments.”

“By pride, what we mean is that small feeling, it isn’t a major feeling. But it’s a small feeling of pleasure, that you’ve accomplished something, it doesn’t have to be something big. The more pleasure you feel, the more likely you are to repeat it to do it again.”

Alden said another point is to expect that you are not going to be consistent with your resolutions.

“Life is going to interfere. Life is full of interruptions, disruptions, distractions, and that’s going to happen,” she said. “And don’t get down on yourself […] just very quietly go back to doing whatever your small goal is. So, if you’re planning to lift weights for five minutes, and you miss a day. Just go back to it. We always say don’t let a lapse turn into a relapse. That’s my advice. Set very small goals. Take satisfaction. When you reach those goals, and expect there’s going to be times when life interferes, get right back on it when you think about it.”

Simon Sherry, clinical psychologist and professor in the department of psychology and neuroscience at Dalhousie University, said people tend to tackle notoriously difficult New Year’s resolutions.

“They tend to focus on stopping drinking, stopping smoking, eating healthier and exercising more. These are very difficult behavioral changes and not surprisingly, people often end up making the same New Year’s resolution five, or even up to 10 times before a lasting change occurs.”

Sherry said some tips to keeping resolutions in the new year include engaging in self monitoring.

“You could use an app to track your changes, you could write it down on the back of a napkin, it doesn’t matter. But what does seem to be important is when you track your progress with a goal, it’s important to write down your outcomes and that form of self observation seems to be helpful to translating a goal into action in a way that results in some positive outcomes.”

He said the other things to keep in mind is to consider your social network and how they can be supportive.

“You get a lot further with “we” than just me. So, if you have an accountability partner and someone who can facilitate the pursuit of your goals, that can be critically important to all this. And we also have to look at the dark side, who within your social network may be likely to undermine your goals. If you’re trying to stop drinking, for instance, and your drinking buddies call you all the time, that can be problematic. So, you have to take a look at who can support your pursuit of your goals within your social network.”

He recommended that people should pick goals that are true to who they are.

“Sometimes, goals get imposed from the outside, whether that’s the latest TikTok trend or some external pressure from society or a peer network or a spouse, for instance. It’s much more important to pick out goals that match who you are and how you roll, to pick out goals that intersect with your personal values, [and] to pick out goals that are a good fit for you as an individual. We tend to be less responsive to external pressure.”

Resolutions at workplaces

LeFebvre said she promotes positive spaces for her employees and helps in their personal development to help in meeting her business’ targets for the new year. She said a staff member attended a hair show in Alberta last year.

“My staff always know that if they ever want an education we always bring people to educate us more,” she said. “With how quick the community is growing here we are going to be doing a lot more education.”

“The community has changed significantly throughout the years and with growth brings in different types of styles we need to learn, so we need more education in different areas. So, that is another plan for us this year. We are going to bring more educators, and my staff are always on board with that. We sometimes go down to Vancouver to get this education and see all the hair products coming out.”

Alden said people’s recognition at workplaces is important.

“It’s not even necessarily some financial recognition. But it’s having someone say they’ve done a good job. We human beings value other people’s positive feedback and that’s a big motivator,” she said. “If workers like their supervisor, and if the supervisor is positive toward them, they’re more likely to work harder.”

She noted that creating a positive social atmosphere at workplaces is important.

“Simple things like having occasional pizza lunches for the employees or something like that is advisable,” she says. “It doesn’t have to be anything big. But just something small. And again, some positive things. Creating a positive social environment goes a long way. And positive interpersonal feedback is very important to job satisfaction.”

Sherry said if you’re trying to make change within a workplace or in your employees, you have to be kind and compassionate.

“You have to be supportive of people and realize that, if you’re looking to change organizational behavior, or increase workplace productivity, that that’s a difficult change to make. You’re going get a lot further with compassion than with criticism, and help people recognize that the changes you’re trying to make can be difficult.”

He said instituting a change should involve some compassion and recognition that “changes our hearts.”

“I think that an employer should, if you’re going to try and partner with your employees, set goals that are realistic. Oftentimes, people will set lofty goals that are unattainable and that type of perfectionistic goal setting is an enemy to goal attainment. So, I would encourage employees to be patient and kind and compassionate, and to set realistic goals.”

Contact Patrick Egwu at

Patrick Egwu

About the Author: Patrick Egwu

I’m one of the newest additions at Yukon News where I have been writing about a range of issues — politics, sports, health, environment and other developments in the territory.
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