New Year’s resolutions: effective or unnecessary?

January 31, 2020

Pro

New Year’s resolutions can be very productive and effective if people stick to them. I believe it is never too late to make goals, or to work on something important in your life. The new year is a fresh start, and the perfect time to set goals to work on throughout the year.
This year I made resolutions to work out four times a week, drink lots of water each day, and to work on my mental health just as much as my physical health. These may seem like a lot of tasks to keep up with, but it’s because they are. It’s hard to make a complete one-eighty, but with persistence and motivation, it’s possible. What I put in impacts what I’m going to get out of the experience.
With this month coming to an end, I can say I’ve made progress with my resolutions. It’s not perfect, and I’m not a completely new person, but it’s a first step in my lifestyle choices. Nothing is going to magically change overnight, which is why I think so many people give up on their resolutions: because they are convinced that they are supposed to. If people understood that change is a process, then maybe people would hold onto their resolutions more often. Choices must be made in order to achieve goals.
According to research, 80% of gym memberships opened in January cancel after only five months. I’ve found that keeping a frequent schedule with time set aside to go to the gym for an hour helps with the consistency of going. Working out is the number one resolution for most people, yet only few keep that resolution.
I believe the reason most people do not set resolutions is because of fear. People become afraid to make change, even life-altering change that is beneficial in the long run. Something I’ve always struggled with is the idea of control and feeling like I don’t have any of it, but setting goals for myself has helped combat that fear. Feeling like I oversee my own life is difficult at times, but so important.
Whatever it is that you want to accomplish in life, know that you are in control. Not your parents, not your best friends, not the people that you look up to, but you. If you want to make a change in your life, you are the only person that can make that change. You are only going to get out what you put in.
Some may see New Year’s resolutions as a waste of time, but sticking to a goal is what resolutions are all about. There’s a productive quality to setting expectations. It is just a matter of being consistent and motivated to accomplish your goals.

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Con

Ahh, the start of a new year: the gyms fill up to the point where you cannot find any parking, grocery carts fill up with fruits and vegetables, and positive attitudes fill up the work and school environment. These are some of the resolutions people promise to achieve for the year in order to develop a new habit to better themselves.
But by March, gym memberships start to decline, people’s junk food cravings get to them, and smiles start to fade. They then stick to their usual habits for the rest of the year and give themselves the typical “oh, it’s okay, there is always next year for another fresh start.”
But why does a fresh start or a new goal have to start at the beginning of the year? If someone wants to start eating better or saving money, there is never a wrong time to start. Goals start within someone and whenever they want to start, not when the earth is done making a full revolution.
According to the Forbes, about 40% of Americans make resolutions and only 8% actually achieve them, leaving 32% of those people disappointed in themselves for not being able to accomplish their goals.
The high failure rate occurs because people make resolutions that are just too big, such as “I am never going to eat junk food again” or “ I am going to go the gym every single day.”
When jumping into such goals, it is almost like saying that these sort of things should be completely changed, when instead setting small goals to avoid overusage or slowly incorporating a new routine are better approaches than complete restriction.
Resolutions also don’t work because people are not enjoying the process of what it takes to achieve such potentially life-changing goals. A new habit can take weeks, months, and even years to develop, and avoiding failure by giving up after the first few days is what makes the resolutions fail.
According to Marla Tabaka, a writer from INC. Newsletter, “attempting to make too many big changes simultaneously or in too many areas of our lives (e.g., work, relationships, health, etc.) usually is a recipe for failure.”
Resolutions are the changes that should only be for themselves, not because of pressure from society, family, friends, etc. and without a time constraint.
One should not simply wait for January to become better, and instead of trying to jump into lofty resolutions, small goals to approach that large goal should be attempted little by little. It is never too late or early too start, and the process requires patience and self-motivation.

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