New year, new me. This eye roll-inducing phrase most of us see every January is starting to surface on social media sites once again. People of all ages are swearing to emerge out of 2018 a changed person — whether that be from significant weight loss, a budding love life or a sudden surge in their GPA.
What these optimists seem to forget every year is that these unrealistic goals we set for ourselves tend to fade out completely by February.
A New Year’s resolution is a tradition in which a person resolves to improve one or several aspects of their life starting January 1. While I agree that we should all strive to become the best versions of ourselves, it seems that New Year’s resolutions are more of a setup for failure than a motivation for change.
Some of the most common New Year’s resolutions are losing weight, getting out of debt and quitting drinking and smoking. These are not overnight fixes that we can easily apply to our lives. Just because the calendar changes from December 31 to January 1 doesn’t mean that we are able to flip a switch and accomplish things we’ve never been able to before.
Every New Year’s Eve, I sit and make a handwritten list of resolutions for the following year. Three hundred and sixty five days later, I find that list and eagerly skim it to see what I can check off. I am disappointed 90% of the time.
Did I manage to get through school without a single B? No. Did I go to the gym every other day? Definitely not. Did I end up making a fortune at my minimum wage job? You get the point.
According to a Finder’s Study, the most common reason for people not fulfilling their New Year’s resolutions is because they set unrealistic goals. Additionally, about one in 10 people admit to making too many resolutions for themselves for such a short period of time.
If you’re a regular gym rat, you’ve experienced the massive crowds that swarm your gym every January like clockwork. However, in 2012, 80% of those who joined a gym in January quit within five months. While working out frequently is an excellent goal to set for yourself, vowing to go to the gym every day is a setup for failure. These people most likely quit because they could not keep up with what their New Year’s resolution was asking of them, so they stopped going altogether.
Another Study from the University of Bristol proves that 88% of those who set New Year’s resolutions fail, even though 52% are confident that they won’t at the beginning of the year.
Some realistic goals that we should be setting for ourselves are things like visiting a new city or checking in with family once a week. Larger resolutions can be achieved by goal setting. This could mean posting about your progress little by little on social media or creating a long-term plan for your goal. Instead of deciding to quit smoking cold turkey, it would be a lot easier to begin limiting yourself day by day until that goal seems within reach.
This December 31, as you pick up your pen and paper and think of how you are going to better yourself in the following year, it is important to remember one thing — you are human. Humans slip up sometimes and that is not reason enough to give up on your goals. Don’t get discouraged if you fail to keep all the promises you made to yourself a year ago.
For now, just work on being kind to those around you and taking care of yourself. The rest will fall into place.