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What’s With New Year’s Resolutions?

Written by Allison Shaw

Another year is here and with that, another round of New Year’s Resolutions have been made. While some people may have theirs figured out, there are a few of us who either already dropped ours, or haven’t come up with anything at all. While you don’t necessarily have to have a resolution, and in some cases they may actually make you less likely to follow through on your goals, it’s still a fun tradition to participate in, and it absolutely isn’t too late. If you’ve already abandoned your original plan, or you’re interested in starting a new one, here’s a fool-proof guide to picking a resolution that you’ll stick with. 

Usually, when we think of New Year’s Resolutions, the first things that come to mind are big changes like losing weight, or breaking habits like vaping. While these are important and beneficial, they are large lifestyle changes, which make them feel more unattainable and harder to actually stick to. This can lead to dejection and feeling anticlimactic, making it harder to actually make these changes later when you’re ready. As such, the best way to make a resolution is to go small. Start with smaller, more attainable goals such as going for a short walk every day, or trying to take a minute of mindfulness. Sticking to something smaller like this will make it feel way more doable, which will build confidence and make those big lifestyle changes feel way less daunting. 

One way to set smaller goals is to break big resolutions down into their parts. For example, if your resolution this year is to put more effort into school, consider all the different ways you can put effort in. This could include going for perfect attendance, trying to avoid turning in late work, or maybe even trying to contribute to class discussions at least once per class. Pick only one of these broken down parts and stick with that. Choosing only one allows you to focus on what you really want to accomplish without feeling overwhelmed and wanting to give up.  You might find that some of the other pieces end up coming easily or are even included in the one you’ve chosen. 

Finally, you should give yourself incentive to actually reach your goals. If you have no real motivation, you’ll have no reason to stick with them through the year. Try thinking of them as challenges, or gamifying them in some way. Consider having a friend hold you accountable, or asking them to set some of the same goals as you. And finally, don’t be too hard on yourself if you end up giving it up. You have a whole year to work towards self improvement, and you don’t need to wait until the next one to start something new.