Another Year, Another New Year’s Resolution
by Alicja Ramotowski
The New Year has passed, and as the first month draws to a close, so do most of our New Year’s resolutions. About 40% of Americans make New Year's resolutions, but surveys suggest that a meager 8% achieve them. It can be hard to stay on track and really commit to the change, so here are some tips that will help you fulfill your goals, or at least prolong your determination.
The first and most important step is setting your goal. Choose something that is manageable, and don’t be overly ambitious. You can always step up the goal later if you are doing well, but starting something beyond your abilities will either force you to stop completely, or have to dial it down, which will leave you feeling discouraged. If you have already made a resolution, take time to think it over and amend it if needed.
Once you have a goal, be sure to arrange a measurement of progress to make sure you are staying on track to get where you need to go. Some ways to do this include marking dates in the calendar to secure when you want to achieve something; for example be able to complete 10 pushups, or run the 2 mile in a certain amount of time by a certain date. You could also draw up a “map,” or plan; something pretty that you enjoy looking at while placed in your room, locker, or other frequently viewed location. Another important part of the progression is to reward yourself when you reach your checkpoints. If it doesn’t quite happen, don’t get discouraged; people who make resolutions are 10 times more likely to turn achieve a change in behavior than those who do not.
Break up your goals into specific pieces, instead of one big, vague ambition. For example instead of deciding to “be healthier,” you could opt to cut out sugars and limit carbs to a few times a week and create a workout schedule. By specifying your resolutions. you will know where to start and will not feel as overwhelmed. Another way to motivate yourself to stick to your goals is to tell others. This way you can share your triumphs with friends and family, but will also be more inclined to persevere so as to not disappoint your loved ones, or have to admit your weakness to them. Remember, motivation is actually something that has been shown to start after setting a goal, not before, so just stick it out.
Finally, the most important part of keeping your New Year’s Resolution is to believe in yourself. As cheesy as it sounds, it really works. If you don’t believe in yourself, how can you expect anyone else to believe in you? Self confidence is one of the most important stepping stones to success. Don’t be discouraged even if you are lying to yourself about wanting to work out a certain day, or wanting to get your essay done early because eventually you will want to. It’s not New Year’s Eve anymore, but it’s never a bad time to introduce a positive change into your life.