Are Your New Year’s Resolutions Setting You Up for Success?


Eating healthy is one of the most popular resolutions, but it is not sustainable if people do not have the right mindset when working towards this goal. Photo by Ashley Meyer

Ashley Meyer and Tara Goff

Midnight strikes and it is the beginning of the “new year, new me” mentality. An opportunity to leave behind not only the events of the past year, but also the bad habits, which is why many see the new year as a clean slate. Although self improvement is always good, deciding on a new year’s resolution Jan 1 is only beneficial when approached properly. More than 40 percent of Americans make resolutions, however only eight percent actually achieve them. This statistic is not that impressive, but sadly not that surprising either, as many take on an all-or-nothing mindset.


The truth is that most people who set resolutions do not follow through. Nick Meyer, 9, says “New Year’s resolutions are just plans that get abandoned.” After people abandon their plans they get disappointed in themselves, and this disappointment caused by a perceived failure may put them in a more negative mindset for the rest of the year. But what if, rather than beating ourselves up for small mistakes, we use them to our advantage? We can reflect on the moments we feel down about ourselves and bounce back from them, being inspired by our own resilience and perseverance.


Failure may come from resolutions being too limited. For example, many people may have fitness goals of going to the gym every day in order to achieve their ideal weight or volunteering more to help their community. These are some of the most common resolutions, but they are also some of the most failed resolutions because they limit a person to see self improvement through one lens.


If a person is so focused on going to the gym to lose weight, they may not be as focused on their eating habits and make very little progress until they get burnt out from the gym and lose all progress. People wanting to volunteer may be too focused on getting in their volunteer hours to achieve their goal that they do not focus on the people they are helping or why they wanted to volunteer in the first place. These are just two examples, but many people fall into similar situations because of their resolutions.


It is important to create resolutions that are specific and will make you feel good. Focus on smaller, more specific goals and think about fun ways to achieve them. For example, if you are trying to get more exercise, explore different workouts until you find one you enjoy, or do different ones everyday to avoid repetition. This could be anything from running to weightlifting, walking to yoga. You could also find a friend or family member with similar goals and work toward them together. Together, you can celebrate small victories and work through unexpected challenges. Former Roswell student Caroline Goff says, “I really want to try to be more active this year, since I haven’t been ever since my last cross country season. My roommate and I have been going to the gym, or when it’s nice out I like to run across campus with friends.” If you are trying to eat healthier, try new methods of cooking and recipes from all over the world to switch up what you are used to. Not only are these goals more achievable mentally, but they also are easier to fit into your schedule, so they won’t become overwhelming and something you no longer want to do.


Burnout could also happen because people are starting to make resolutions now because they feel like they should, instead of truly wanting to better themselves. Jim Howry, 10, says, “A New Year’s resolution is more of a fad that most people develop off a whim with no true intent nor interest behind it.” When people make a resolution because they think they should, they will not have the passion and discipline to continue following the resolution throughout the year and eventually quit. This does not mean the person does not want to or cannot improve themselves, it just means they were too focused on making the resolution rather than finding ways to truly improve their life.


Because of this, it is important for resolutions to be based on what we value. Looking back at the year before, think about times you felt your best. What can you do to get to that point again? Also think about moments that brought you down. How can you prevent that from happening again? Make resolutions that work towards the truest version of yourself as well as the best world around you.


By making a resolution, people are admitting to themselves that they are not good enough in some way, which can be a bad way to start the year. While no one is perfect, New Year’s resolutions stem from the idea that the new year can be some type of “starting over” and people feel they will be a completely new person if they can achieve this goal. If people put too much pressure on themselves to improve in a certain way because they think it is their biggest problem and this is the year to change that, the new year starts off looking at the negatives instead of focusing on all the growth each person made in the past year.


Rather than perceiving events of the last year as problems, see them as opportunities for growth. A positive mindset can change the idea of “I have to exercise everyday to lose weight” to “I get to move around and do activities I enjoy.” We are making promises to ourselves out of care for our well-being. Recognize that the change will not be easy, but each step is one closer to your goal. This includes what may be seen as setbacks, as they are really lessons for yourself.

Last year was one that no one could have expected, but we made it through and are better because of it, whether we achieved our resolutions or not. While self-improvement can come at any time, a new year is inevitably a time of new beginnings, leaving an opportunity for success only when goals are well thought out.