Dropping the ball after the ball drops

How to make SMART New Year’s resolutions

We have officially entered into 2019, which means that for millions of people New Year’s resolutions are currently underway. The concept of setting a goal or making a lifestyle change at the beginning of the year is nothing new.

In fact, the tradition of setting New Year’s resolutions has been practiced for thousands of years. According to the History Channel’s website, resolutions were started by the ancient Babylonians. They would have New Year’s celebrations in which they made promises to their gods to settle any previously owed debts.

If they followed through with their resolution, they would gain the favor of their gods in the coming year. If they failed to repay their debts, they would fall out of favor with their gods and suffer throughout the new year.

One would think that after 4,000 years we would have figured out how to stick to a resolution, but that is not the case. Why is it so difficult to stay committed to them? A few major pitfalls are poor time management, financial burdens and unhealthy mindsets. People tend to set goals without taking into consideration the amount of effort it takes to actually achieve them. Vague commitments and a lack of proper planning ultimately result in an individual being unprepared for the challenge.

Human beings are creatures of habit, and attempting to give something entirely up from the start is a setup.

Despite good intentions, most resolutions are doomed to fail from the start. According to Psychology Today, it is estimated that less than 10% of New Year’s resolutions are successfully achieved. Many don’t even make it to Valentine’s Day.

Human beings are creatures of habit, and attempting to give something entirely up from the start is a setup for failure. One commonly held assumption is that a resolution has to be some drastic life-changing decision. Rather than making gradual adjustments to your routine, the concept of New Year’s resolutions suggests that you have to go all out from day one. Our bodies aren’t programmed physically or mentally for such abrupt changes; instead, we need time to adjust to these new circumstances.

If you do decide to commit to a New Year’s Resolution, try to have a structured goal set in place. Goals should be Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Timely. In other words, be SMART. Lack of preparation is one of the main reasons a New Year’s resolution fails. If you go into the new year with a plan, you are more likely to complete it.

In addition to setting SMART goals before taking on a New Year’s resolution, an important thing to consider is who, or what, is motivating you to make this change. Is giving up sugar or investing in a gym membership something you actually want to do, or do you feel obligated by the expectations of others to live up to an unrealistic expectation? Don’t spend 2019 trying to please someone else, especially if you’re going to make yourself miserable in the process

Madi McGinnis is a senior graphic design major and a Graphics Editor for The Syrinx.

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