Remember your New Year’s resolutions?


Image courtesy of Rosy via Pixabay

New Year’s resolutions may be difficult to maintain, but they shouldn’t be stressful. Working on developing healthier habits that are more manageable will result in more positive outcomes.

Bushra Syed, Editor-in-Chief, Print Media

“Enough is enough. New year, new me.” Do these words sound familiar to you?

As 2023 steadily moves forward, it is inevitable that many people have implemented their New Year’s resolutions. This year will be different, they say. 

Each year, just days before January 1st, people plan their healthy meal preps, set early alarm clocks, sign up for gym memberships, and spend hours online shopping for room decor, organizers, and a new wardrobe.

If this sounds anything remotely similar to your resolutions, chances are your successes will be short-lived, if lived at all. In other words, it will have failed.

This is not to say that achieving your goals is impossible. Rather, right now might be a good idea to evaluate, or re-evaluate, your plans for the new year.

There are countless benefits to making goals in pursuit of becoming a better version of yourself. But how often do they actually come to fruition? Studies show that at least 80% of New Year’s resolutions fail by the beginning of February. So, why is it that so many of these self-growth endeavors are unsuccessful?

Regarding resolutions, one of the biggest reasons these goals fail is that we tend to be too ambitious. The overwhelming pressure of feeling the need to completely reconfigure your lifestyle to become “your best self” by the time it reads 11:59 P.M. is supremely unrealistic, pointless, and ultimately unsustainable in the long run.

“One of the problems with making resolutions is that most people pick lofty, aspirational ones, rather than more realistic goals that they can integrate into their daily lives,” says Ms. Hargrave, who teaches AP Psychology at Segerstrom. “Also, people are impatient with themselves and they beat themselves down the minute they don’t achieve major results. Finally, using willpower or quick fixes to achieve goals often results in failure.”

New Year’s resolutions are anything but easy to achieve. Not only does it require patience and persistence, but staying motivated may pose a challenge, as well. Hargrave also suggests that some people confuse the idea of motivation with ambition.

“From a psychological perspective, if you are making resolutions every January because it’s a society expectation, then your motivation might not be authentic. For example, if your teacher assigns a goal-setting assignment, then your operating under extrinsic motivation, which doesn’t guarantee success or happiness. However, if you are setting a resolution with the intention to generate positive feelings of self-respect and self-worth then you’re operating under intrinsic motivation. Research shows that this yields much higher success and happiness,” she adds.

While there are many ways to build and maintain motivation, one of the most beneficial methods is having someone monitor your progress. A lack of accountability can result in discouragement or a loss of drive to accomplish your goals.

Without encouragement or confidence, no goals can be achieved. Instead of viewing resolutions as unattainable, we should instead find ways to inspire motivation. There is no single way to develop a drive to succeed in your goals, and this varies from person to person.

January 1st does not signify anything other than the beginning of a new year. You will be far more successful in achieving your goals if you make changes when the time works best for you. Working on developing healthier habits that are more manageable will result in more positive outcomes.

“Look at your life and first pinpoint areas that are of most concern to you. Commit to making realistic growth in those areas and be honest and authentic in your choices. Be patient with yourself by looking at your resolutions as a work in progress. Understand that achieving realistic goals is not a sprint – it’s a marathon.”