New Year’s Resolutions: Why They Don’t Work?

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Written by Chloe Gan

 

It’s finally 2018! As it always is with every New Year, most of us are struck with the sense of how quickly another year has passed us by. Suddenly, all of us are scrambling to set resolutions and personal goals for ourselves to achieve, in the hopes that 2018 will turn out to be a more meaningful year for us than 2017. However, many argue that these resolutions hardly work out, and that the positive habits we try to maintain will eventually be forgotten as we subconsciously slip back into our old ways. This argument is backed up by statistics; according to U.S. News, roughly 80% of New Year’s resolutions fail by the second week of February. The odds do NOT seem to be in our favour. But why is this the case?

The truth is that our resolutions fail because of how we construct them around a very large aspirational goal. For example, we say, “I want to lose 20 pounds! So, I’ll have to start working out 2 hours a day!” We then overestimate our ability to make huge changes in such a small time frame, and we feel disappointed when we don’t see immediate results. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and once we understand this, we should instead opt to start out small. Using our previous example, we can go for a morning jog twice a week, or we can make changes to our diet which will benefit our health. Smaller goals are easier to achieve and they provide a stronger sense of accomplishment. By working towards our goals in a more moderate yet consistent way, we will be more inclined to follow through with our resolutions all the way to the end. Sometimes, the biggest changes cannot happen without small ones.

Besides this, many of us make our resolutions on mere whims – we don’t spend much time thinking about what they truly entail. We treat these resolutions like wishes and desires, but, most of the time, we don’t really seriously try to commit to any of them. So the real question is: how much do these goals actually mean to us? If they are truly worth achieving, there is no sense in putting them off any longer, and there isn’t any need to wait for the next New Year’s Day to start making changes in our lives. Life is short, and we should make the most of it by constantly striving to be our best. In this case, we should have clarity of purpose and formulate a plan to achieve the resolutions we create. An easy but effective step towards that is to begin writing down all that you want to achieve, and to write down all the required steps to follow through with those ambitions. In the words of billionaire entrepreneur, Richard Branson, “Lists not only provide a great structure for getting things done, but they also help us to set goals and achieve our dreams.”

In short, New Year’s resolutions are entirely achievable, but the deciding factor between their success and failure is the willpower with which we approach them. But in truth, although they may not be strictly New Year’s resolutions, resolutions can really be made on any day of the year. We should see each day as an opportunity to improve on ourselves. It’s never too late to get started on your dreams, because every day is a fresh start. As the saying goes, “With the new day comes new strength and new thoughts.” So here’s to the hope that 2018 will be an amazing year filled with good vibes, good friends and good grades!

 

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