The New Year is more than drinking ourselves into champagne-induced silliness or finding a guy to smooch at the stroke of midnight. 2012 marks the beginning of a fresh start where we can make new goals as well as new memories. It’s the perfect opportunity to begin dropping those last five pounds, plan that volunteer trip to New Orleans or cut down your Facebook time from four hours a day to two.
But why is it that when we swear off chocolate until swimsuit season that we find ourselves sneaking a Snickers bar two days later? While it’s easy to make New Year’s resolutions, it’s even easier to break them. Her Campus wants this coming year to be your best year. We’ll help you set your sights on the right goals, and more importantly, tell you what you need to do in order to keep them—pinky promise.
Why do we make New Year’s resolutions?
The tradition of making New Year’s resolutions goes back to 153 B.C. when Janus, a mythical king of Rome, was placed at the head of the calendar. Because Janus had two faces, he was able to look into the past as well as the future. Janus became the ancient symbol for resolutions and the god of beginnings. At midnight on December 31st, the Romans would give each other branches from a sacred tree which represented good fortune.
The most popular resolutions:
On New Year’s Eve, you will likely be one of the 100 million Americans to make a New Year’s resolution. Here are the top New Year’s resolutions:
- Lose weight
- Manage debt
- Save money
- Get a better job
- Drink less alcohol
- Stop smoking
- Take a trip
Why most resolutions don’t work:
Experts agree that the number one reason why most New Year’s resolutions fail is because they aren’t the right ones. With four out of five Americans bailing on their resolutions after starting them, it’s no secret that sticking to a plan can be a challenge. But there’s no need to set yourself up for disappointment, if you keep these tips in mind:
Keep it realistic
Dropping ten pounds by February or completely kicking your Red Bull habit cold turkey might be a stretch. “Focus on realistic goals with measurable results,” says Dr. Jill RachBeisel, director of community psychiatry at the University of Maryland Medical Center. “You need to break things down into small steps that you can manage.” In other words, instead of picking a number on the scale and making a deadline, say to yourself, “I’m going to add an extra ten minutes of cardio to my workout each day.”
Just saying that your resolution is to “lose weight” doesn’t quite cut it. If your resolution is too vague, it’s not going to seem within reach. The more specific you can be the better. If your resolution involves losing weight, decide on a reasonable number or say to yourself, “I’m going to fit into these jeans by my birthday.”
Make a plan
Every goal needs a plan of action to get started. By mapping out what steps you are going to take in order to achieve your goal, it will become that much more attainable. RachBeisel suggests that you “create bite-sized jobs for yourself that you’ll be able to accomplish. If your goal is too big, you’ll feel defeated before you even get started.” Don’t allow yourself to become overwhelmed by the task at hand, but rather take your resolution and decide what is the best way to go about in tackling it.
Trust us, there are going to be days when you slip and despite all the super-human restraint you may have, that German chocolate cake looks too good not to eat. The key is to not beat yourself up if you happen to stray from your goal, but accept that some days are going to have their slip-ups. The best you can do is pick yourself back up and try harder tomorrow.
Don’t start training for that New York City Marathon tomorrow, start today (even if it is just registering for the race). “Action precedes motivation, not the other way around,” says Dr. Hinda Dubin of the University of Maryland Medical Center. “They’ll say, ‘I’ll start that diet or fitness program when I’m really well-rested and have a lot of energy.’ But it doesn’t work that way.” The secret is to initiate action no matter how small, and pick up momentum from there.
Nothing compares to the feeling of setting out to accomplish a goal and then meeting your expectations. With a little hard work, confidence and time, you’ll be on your way to checking your New Year’s resolution off your list.
But in the meantime, check out the New Year’s resolutions of the HC Team.
What’s your New Year’s resolution? Post it in the Comments section!
CNN Health (cnnhealth.com)
University of Maryland Medical Center (umm.edu) Zinarticles.com