by Vanessa Tang
Let’s face it, New Year’s resolutions are hard to keep and easily broken. The University of Scranton states that only 8% of people achieve their goals. Resolutions are usually hard to keep because of how hard it is to self-motivate and set realistic standards.
Researchers have found that the idea of “putting off an activity because you don’t feel like it even though it’s good for you,” is called akrasia. Jess Whittlestone, a PhD student in behavioral science said,“It’s incredibly difficult for us to be motivated by delayed consequences precisely because they’re not there clearly in front of us.” Many resolutions, such as getting better grades, need a large amount of work for a delayed benefit.
Despite the difficulties, there are a few ways to keep resolutions. Mark Goulston, a psychiatrist, thought of seven steps to keeping New Year’s resolutions.
His first step is to “be realistic” about goals. Many people set unrealistic, hard to reach resolutions for themselves. According to the University of Scranton, only 39% of people in their twenties actually achieve their goal of losing weight. By setting an easier to reach goal, or by focusing on just one, people would be more motivated and accomplish it. These reachable goals should be specific in order to have a better idea of desired results.
Commitment to goals is another important factor. Telling others about goals tends to make people more committed and motivated to follow through. Another way to gain commitment in carrying out resolutions is, according to Goulston, to ”write down what you need to stop doing and what you need to start doing to reach your goals.” This way, the plan is obvious. When asked about her resolutions, Kristina Ching, a freshman at Tustin High explains, “I know what I want to accomplish that year in my head, but I never write any resolutions down because then I feel really awful if I don’t accomplish them; It’s less commitment.” By sticking to the intended goal for a while, there’s a higher chance of goals becoming habits.
The new year doesn’t exactly mean a new you. People still won’t keep resolutions, but many will attempt to. People can assess themselves, understand the benefits of change, and get extra motivation by creating resolutions. By staying committed and following the tips, some will be able to accomplish this year’s goals.