The Death of New Year’s Resolutions


Photo by geralt

Kallie Brown, A&E Editor

January 17th is the official Ditch New Year’s Resolutions Day. Only two and a half weeks into the year, most Americans have already given up on their “New year, new me!” ideas.

The History Channel has published a By the Numbers for New Year’s Eve. From the data they collected, over 25% of all resolutions are abandoned one week into the year. By the end of January, only 64% of resolutions made are still going. At the half-way mark of the year, June 21st, less than 46% of resolutions made have been kept.

With such dismal statistics, why do we try again every year? A conversation about resolutions can hardly happen without someone making fun of them. It’s common knowledge that New Year’s resolutions ultimately fail. “I want to lose weight!” “I’m going to save money!” “I’m going to quit drinking coffee!” Yeah, right. By the end of the week, those cravings for sugar and caffeine are starting to hit. The next week, you’re crying in a corner, holding ten donuts and vowing to never make that resolution again.

What is it about the new year that convinces people to change their lives? Change is something that can happen at any time during the year; there’s nothing magical about January 1st. If you’re truly determined to become healthier or start saving for a new car, don’t wait. Letting months slip by, saying you’re waiting for the “new year,” will weaken whatever resolve you have.

How do you keep a resolution? Anna Runyan, CEO of Classy Career Girl (a company named by Forbes as one of the top 35 career-building websites) has some tips.

First, and most important, don’t make one big goal: you will be disappointed. Success to a large goal doesn’t come immediately, and if you don’t feel like you’re achieving anything, your resolve quickly wanes. Rather, start with small goals. Instead of saying, “I’m going to be in shape,” say, “I want to start running two nights every week.”

The latter is much more achievable. You’re not going to see results immediately if you just want to be “in shape.” That takes time and, above all, patience. If you’re running two nights a week, you’re achieving something. And yes, rewards are important. Cook your favorite dinner if you keep to your goal. Go to the movies with your best friend. You want to have an immediate reason to keep your goal. Our culture is one of instantaneity; goals need to be small steps so we have those moments of triumph.

If you manage to keep a resolution, know that you’re one of few who has the dedication to actually improve your life. Don’t be overzealous when you’re making goals, and you’ll be able to do it. Just don’t wait until January 1st, 2019 to finally get your life in order.