Make your resolutions stick

Illustration by Myah Anglin |The Signal

Every New Year’s Eve, people worldwide are hopeful and excited for a chance at a “do-over” in the new year. For many people, part of this do-over includes making New Year resolutions. According to a recent Finder survey, 73.76% of men and 74.26% of women in the United States plan on making New Year’s resolutions for 2021.

But on average, 80% of people end up ditching their resolutions. That means nearly four out of every five people will not reach their goals by the end of the year. It’s normal to have trouble making New Year’s resolutions stick. It doesn’t have to feel impossible, and burnout is avoidable.

Many people give up on their resolutions because they are too big to achieve. A staggering 45.59% of people make health-related resolutions, whether gaining or losing weight, starting a proper diet or exercise routine. Unrealistic expectations like losing 10 pounds in a week, long term fasting diets and detox diets are an easy way to get discouraged quickly.

Without consistent planning to make these dreams a reality, people may fall short of their goals within the first couple of months into the year. Junior Kyra Sheppard spoke about her previous health-related resolutions. 

“For years, my only goal was to lose weight. And honestly, I’ve stayed within the same 10 to 15 pounds in the last few years, so it just seems silly,” Sheppard said. “Instead, I’m saying specific goals, like ‘I want to exercise at least 30 minutes a day.’”

To attain a weight-related goal for the new year, set realistic boundaries. According to the CDC, it’s healthy for the average person to lose between four and eight pounds a month

A way to stick with a weight loss challenge is to start small instead of losing weight fast and getting discouraged when it rises again. With health-related goals, slow and steady wins the race. There is no way of losing a lot of weight in a short amount of time, and recognizing that is the first step towards progress.

Another reason why resolutions fail is a lack of accountability. When there is a goal that someone wants to achieve, it is important to share it with people close to them. It’s easy to give up when there is a lack of encouragement and accountability. 

Keeping resolutions quiet, particularly if someone hasn’t achieved it in the past, is a recipe for disaster. Examples of accountability can include phone reminders, telling friends or family or joining a group of others trying to achieve the same goals. 

For sophomore Ashton Miller, accountability in her relationships motivates her to be successful.

“I get busy with school and work and don’t make things like eating right or working out a priority,” Miller said. “I like having someone to keep me accountable because it motivates me when reminding them of what their goal is so that we can both be successful at the end of the year.” 

Understanding the reasoning behind a goal is essential to a goal’s success. Instead of only stating an intention, it’s imperative to choose a valuable purpose. 

For example, choose to save $1000 because of vacation purposes, choose to spend more time with family or apply for more scholarships. Picture that goal and focus on “the why” every time frustration hits along the way. Sophomore Sierra Evans discusses how her “why” impacts her new year resolution this year.

“My new year resolution is to put myself first more often. I think I have put my heart and soul in relationships that haven’t been what is best for me,” Evans said. “I have a drive to actually fulfill this new resolution because my mental health has suffered in the past.”

A great way to grow passion about completing a goal is to leave notes around the house all year in places frequented the most. Take an expo marker and write on the bathroom mirror, or put a sticky note on the TV stand.

For example, if someone burns out from working hard to get extra money, coming home and reading a motivating note while opening the fridge can help them feel like it is all worth it. The key is to add multiple notes to reinforce the passion behind the goal. 

Habits take from 18 to 254 days to break, and even beyond that, there are still temptations to fall back into previous patterns. Embrace small setbacks, and don’t give in to discouragement. To expect that completing a resolution is going to be done perfectly can lead to disappointment. 

Discovering and continually remembering the passion behind a resolution is the way to succeed by the end of the year.

Another way to make the completion of resolution goals easier is to be aware of and expect temptations. For example, if the resolution goal is to have better time management, it could be tempting to sleep through the day. If that’s a habit that is hard to break, it would be a great idea to expect that challenge and face it head-on. 

A good way to change that pattern would be to go to bed earlier, so the urge to sleep through alarms is smaller. Setting a schedule of everything that needs to be done throughout each day, cutting out caffeine and lowering screen time are some examples of how to face and overcome temptations.

Sometimes one bites off more than they can chew, which can be another roadblock preventing someone from achieving their resolutions. It is better to finish one or a small number of resolutions properly than to try several different ones and do them all badly or not complete them. Focusing on what is most important leads to higher chances of success.

Setting specific goals is good for self-esteem. Checking off smaller successes throughout the year can make the bigger goals feel even more possible. Don’t forget to celebrate the successes no matter how little they are because that is a great motivation to keep going.

For the people that want to have a simple resolution to be proud of this year, try creating a happiness jar. When anything great happens, such as a special day or an individual accomplishment, write it down with the date and put it in the jar.

Materials needed to make a happiness jar are a mason jar, scraps of paper and decorations to make it look unique. Then, watch the jar fill up throughout the year and read through all of the notes before the next New Year party. Not only is it a little time capsule of memories, but it can also help someone feel grateful for what the previous year brought while looking forward to the future. 

Sticking to resolutions is tough, but anyone can achieve it with the proper tools and goal-setting skills. Changing life patterns is worth it in the long run, and if discouragement comes knocking at the door, remember some of these tips and power through the upcoming year.