The Apache Pow Wow

New Year New Me? How to Actually Keep Resolutions in 2018

Margaret Lin, Staff Writer

January 1 is significant for two reasons: 1) it is the first day that kicks off a brand new year, and 2) it’s a day that generally stands for change and progress. Many people set New Year’s resolutions in the hopes that they might find it in themselves to lose a few pounds, tighten down on their spending habits, etc. It is impossible for one to go through the first couple weeks of the new year without hearing or reading the same four words on repeat: New Year, New Me. Despite initial optimism and enthusiasm, according to U.S. News, a whopping 80% of people fail to keep their New Year’s resolutions by February, and at the end of the year, only a meager 8% of people have kept the goals that they set in the beginning of the year.

Personally, I’ve always found the idea of New Year’s resolutions to be a little ridiculous, which may or may not have been due to my own failed resolutions. We all have our own little wishes, such as the desire to become more physically fit, squeeze in more sleep, or eat more healthily. However, a wish does not always translate into action. If, during the normal course of the year, we’re unwilling to wake up early and go jog every morning, what are the odds that we will suddenly do exactly that just because it’s a new year? In fact, part of the reason that most New Year’s resolutions fail is because there isn’t enough passion behind them. Most of us would probably rather sit around watching Netflix and eating junk food than working out and being a sore, sweaty mess. Without sufficient drive and passion, one’s enthusiasm slowly gets chipped away by time and obstacles involved in achieving one’s goals.

A major reason that our New Year’s goals fail is because we didn’t set proper goals. Oftentimes, people get too carried away with themselves and set a goal without creating a plan to achieve it. Think of all your resolutions that weren’t achieved; were they specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound? Chances are, some or all of the aforementioned characteristics were missing from your failed goals.

When setting goals, one should take care to model them within the framework of the five criteria, better remembered by the acronym SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, Time-framed). Set a specific goal (how much weight you want to lose) that you can measure and keep track of (one pound per week). Keep in mind that it must be realistic and something that can be accomplished. The last step is to set a deadline in the near future for when you must achieve your goal. To increase the chances that you won’t give up on your goal, declare your resolution and progress to a large audience. In a study by Emory University, couples who eloped were 12 times more likely to divorce than couples who threw weddings with over 200 guests. In fact, the more guests they had, the more likely they were to stay together. In the same vein, the more people you declare your goals to, the more likely you’ll keep them. In this day and age, we can effortlessly contact a large number of people through social media. So declare your goals on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, etc. to help you commit to achieving them!

Although keeping goals are hard enough on their own and are made even more difficult by the obstacles that come about while we do so, pushing through and accomplishing them is ultimately to our benefit. So instead of being part of the 92% who fail, why not be part of the 8% who succeed this year?

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New Year New Me? How to Actually Keep Resolutions in 2018