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How To: Stick to Your New Year’s Resolutions

 


It is that time of year again when we begin to avoid the New Year’s Resolutions that we so carefully planned out over winter break. But what is up with New Year’s resolutions and them rarely sticking? Why do we go through this vicious cycle of getting ourselves all pumped up just to be let down? Every year I create a list of things that I think are simple, but by the time February rolls around, the list has been dwindled down to one. When this happens, I often say, “Oh I’ll just wait until next year,” which is where the cycle begins, ends, and begins again. Usually the first week of January starts off pretty strong: I’ll go to the gym three times that week (which is three times more than I was previously going), I’ll skip desserts, and I’ll get in bed around ten or eleven.


You can probably already tell that this promising start does not last very long. Three gym sessions turns into two, then one. I stay up later, which in the moment I justify by stating that I can “reward” myself, which we all know is where things take a turn for the worse. Then, the real kicker is I find myself stuffing Pop Tarts into my mouth while looking at a health and fitness Pinterest…because you know…looking at healthy food and toned bodies counts for something right? Somehow in the course of a month, all goes out the window, which is the point where I say, “Next year, Maya, next year…” but will next year really be the year?


Seeing that this year was not the year of sticking to the plan, I came up with list of suggestions on how to break the cycle that we all know too well. First, one resolution that has actually stuck is that I now floss twice a day! I have thought long and hard about why it has stuck and I think because it was such a minor and easy change to my daily routine that now it seems like a no brainer.


So, how do you make one of the bigger resolutions turn into a “no brainer”, where three months from now when you think back, you can’t even fathom a life without X, Y or Z? Make the small changes! If you don’t normally exercise, don’t try and be the hero and incorporate five days of rigorous exercise to your probably already hectic schedule, but instead try one to three times a week. Yes, you’ve accomplished a hardcore workout for one week, but if you can barely walk the next, you are less likely to continue the week after recovery, and then you’ll probably stop all together and wait until the next New Year’s Eve comes along. And with dieting or eating healthier, try not to go all out. I am definitely the type to go all out, but by the second week, I hate what I am eating. Incorporating it slowly so that it is not a 180º to your normal meals can help with the transition and make it easier on your body.


But the question that still lingers is why do most people “go hard” even knowing that the likelihood of them maintaining their new goals are slim? One idea is that we are either lazy and want the quick fix or are over ambitious and get burnt out. Or in more recent years it has become a cultural phenomenon and because everyone else is concocting these grand plans, we feel we have to follow suit. I feel pressured into having a New Year’s Resolution because the topic is often a conversation starter over the holidays.


Now that we realize the issue, what are some tips and tricks that you use to help a resolution stick? Or are you in the same boat as me where you go in with a bang and out with a fizzle? At the end of the day, I try not to dwell on what I haven’t accomplished but instead focus on what I can accomplish. Instead of having a New Year’s Resolution, perhaps have a weekly goal list, which may be more manageable and realistic. In light of all this I tip my hat off to those who have been able to keep up with their resolutions, but I raise my glass to the people who do try something new each year.


Sources: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7

 

 
Maya Johnson is a junior at Mount Holyoke College from New York City. She is a Psychology and Education Major. She has a love for dance, rock climbing, ice skating, and skiing. Despite being small in size, Maya makes up for it with her gregarious and bubbly personality!
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