With the start of every year, people adopt a “new year, new you” attitude that inspires them to shoot for the stars. From weight loss goals to aspiring to make their dreams a reality, people have been making New Year’s resolutions since as early as 153 BC. A common theme among the ages, though, is that as the New Year ensues you discover it’s still the same, old you.
According to Forbes, four out of every five people give up their New Year’s resolution. The University of Scranton Journal of Clinical Psychology reported that 45% of Americans regularly make them, so the success rate (8%) is pretty minuscule. As VHS student Ryan Farrington puts it, “I think that the beginning of the year is always tough. Between starting a new year at work, taxes, kids going of back to school, and recovering from the holidays, keeping a resolution can be hard. After all, there is a lot stress that comes along with the new year and a resolution won’t be number one.”
While it is true that with a new year comes new obstacles, an astounding amount of resolutions fail because people resort to excuses when the going gets tough. They’re too busy, overwhelmed, and have many other fallback excuses when really they’re just living up to (down to might be the more appropriate phrase) their own expectations. “People lose sight of their goal and become lazy,” says Jacqueline Burke, a student at VHS.
Don’t let this discourage you; there are a few tricks to make your resolutions stick.
In an interview with the New York Times, Eric Schumacher, an associate psychology professor at the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta who studies goal-oriented behavior, said the downfall of most New Year’s resolutions is that in the end people decide they just aren’t worth the trouble. “The reward is so far in the future that we don’t stay motivated to keep moving toward it,” he says. “When you set smaller, specific goals, your brain can activate behaviors it knows will help you achieve them.”
Stay true to your resolution by breaking it down; picture where you ultimately want to be and lay out how you’re going to achieve the end result. Resolutions are best achieved one step at a time. “With goal-setting, what’s missing is usually the action steps,” Sheronde Glover, the chief executive of the Business Practitioner, a business consulting and training firm in Atlanta, told the New York Times, “People think about what they want, but they don’t think through what will actually need to happen to get there.”
Find what motivates you, and keep the drive. “I want to get swole for the babes,” says VHS senior Jay Contardi, “I stay committed by getting mad when I go to the gym.”
While visions of making girls swoon with your chiseled six pack may not be what it takes to get you off the couch and to the gym, there’s a source of motivation for every resolution. Your job is to find it, just like Ryan Farrington did. “I made the resolution to lose weight and get in shape in order to land myself a job with the United States Air Force as an Explosive Ordinance Disposal (EOD) Tech. I normally forget the resolution by now, but this year has been different. I have stayed committed through knowing what good is about to come of it that will change the rest of my life, and seeing the results in the form of how good I look,” says Farrington.
So now, it’s time to set the excuses aside and make 2013 your year. Keep your eye on the prize and be prepared to reap the benefits of staying dedicated to your resolution. If you can find what works for you, there are no limits to what you can achieve. Give some meaning to the cliché “new year, new you” and you’ll come out of 2013 a whole new, improved, all-around better you.