Every New Year’s we make resolutions, whether it’s to “eat healthier,” “get more exercise,” “improve our grades,” etc. It’s our set goal, one we can hope to see accomplished by the end of the year. As the weeks go on, however, we find that it’s almost impossible to stick to these resolutions, and we abandon them.
According to TIME.com, only 8 percent of people who make resolutions actually stick with them. So I decided to talk to guidance counselors, teachers, and students about why we tend to stray away from our resolutions, and what steps we can take to prevent giving up on a resolution.
“I think people make unrealistic resolutions,” says Erin Hanrahan, a freshman. “They need to keep ‘realisticness’ in sight. Make sure it’s not something ridiculous like ‘give up chocolate.’ Pick something you can actually see yourself doing, you know?”
And it’s true. TIME even believes that unrealistic resolutions are “fated to fail” and you’ll only end up disappointed with yourself.
However, once you create a realistic, achievable goal, you get a sense of where you are, and where you want to go. Ms. Martini, a physical education teacher, explains that it’s like you’re on a sailboat, just drifting around, but when you have a goal, you set the sailboat on its course and you now have direction.
It’s easy to simply tell yourself you’re going to do something, but actually putting your words into actions can be one of the most difficult steps of a resolution.
“Think more about not just ‘Okay, I’m going to make this change,’ but how you’re going to make the change, and put in place certain steps to achieve your goals,” says Ms. Volmer, a guidance counselor.
But even if your resolution is realistic and you have all your steps planned out, it still may feel like a lot of hard work actually carrying through with it all. Jackie Drew and Marika Cerbone, seniors, admit obligations often get in the way. With such busy lives, it seems almost natural for us to try to procrastinate our way out of things, especially if it’s an overwhelming goal.
“In project challenge, one of the things we try to teach students is ‘can they break it into smaller pieces?’” says Ms. Martini. “If the small pieces are successful then they can take on a bigger challenge. So I think if kids have a goal that is too big, perhaps they could divide it up into smaller more attainable goals and then add those goals together to ultimately meet the resolution.”
For example, instead of saying you want to lose fifty pounds, start a goal of walking three times a week. Once that becomes part of your routine, you can set another goal, which might be something like weight training.
I would definitely recommend this strategy because it makes our resolutions seem more friendly and approachable. Hopefully, with smaller, more specific steps, we can view our resolutions as more serious goals and genuinely want to achieve them.
Although it’s been several weeks since the New Year started, it’s never too late to make a resolution or to set a goal. “It’s always good for people to reflect on where they are in life and to see what improvements can be made,” says Ms. Volmer.
And before any of you think about giving up on your resolution again, take Drew and Cerbone’s advice: Never give up, and just keep going!
By Emai Lai