The Art of Keeping New Year’s Resolutions

Andrew Woodworth, Reporter

The promise to yourself that you never keep: New Year’s resolutions. This succession of self-pity and lies never pans out how one expects. You make a promise to yourself on December 31st every year that yes, this is indeed the year that you stop that despicable habit of yours. But no, January will fly by and you will forget that you had ever even thought of the idea of going through with a New Year’s resolution. It is not about quitting a bad habit, trying something new, or bettering yourself, but rather it is a test of self-accountability and motivation. Self-accountability is an element that many do not possess, as the practice itself is distant and foreign to many. How does one hold themselves to such a high standard: gratification. Gratification is the art of attaining a reward for completing a goal. Many crave instant gratification, “the temptation, and resulting tendency, to forego a future benefit in order to obtain a less rewarding but more immediate benefit”, this is okay though, it is a natural tendency. When it comes down to it, creating a resolution is a great idea in theory, but for many, it takes immense time and work, rendering it impractical. 


Now, if you were, say, in the process of overcoming hardship, setting a long-term goal can be very beneficial, even if not specifically for New Year’s. Approximately 70-80% of individuals are optimistic by nature, so the idea of setting unrealistic goals is not by any means far-fetched. One alternative to a New Year’s resolution could be general goal setting. People are inclined to believe that a more challenging goal, over a longer period of time is more realistic, rather than say 12 month-long goals. However, shorter goals are more realistic as they require less overall work leading to less overall stress making individuals more inclined to finish them. So, ideally, it would be in one’s best interest to set multiple short-term goals as opposed to one long-term, unfeasible goal. A point to mention, though, is that a longer goal may end up holding a better or more valuable reward in contrast with a week or month-long goal. This in and of itself is a great motivator to attempt to reach said goal.


In essence, it is insanely important to realize the value in goal-setting. Do not be discouraged from pursuing a New Year’s resolution, but ensure it is manageable and realistic. For example, rather than just thinking, “this year I am totally going to get good grades!” make an actual effort and take the necessary steps to reach said goal. Think more about ways you could study more efficiently, or manage your time better, conceptualize ways to directly confront your problem, and take small steps before leaping in.