We’re only a month into 2015, but do you even remember your New Year’s resolution?
Each year, I’ve observed the line of eager runners and prospective body builders at the ARC begin to dissipate after the first week of January.
And I don’t think it’s a coincidence.
Like many students, I usually neglect my well-intentioned resolution within the first month of the New Year. This year, I resolved to spend more time practicing yoga. I wanted to de-stress with my newfound passion at least three times a week.
Instead, I found excuses with perceived obligations of schoolwork, a part-time job and allocating time for family and friends. Yoga was put on the sidelines.
But being busy with other obligations isn’t a reasonable excuse for neglecting our resolutions. Some researchers have found psychological reasons that explain why it’s so difficult to stick to resolutions.
In a study conducted by the University of Scranton, researchers found that only 40-60 per cent of resolutions last longer than six months. The study determined that people who believe in their resolutions are more likely to succeed.
Besides being optimistic, resolution makers should aim to create realistic goals. Researchers also found that supportive relationships are key. People who have a strong support system of friends and family have a higher chance of persisting.
The study also emphasized the importance of allowing time to solidify new behaviour. For most people, it can take months to adjust to new lifestyle habits.
Instead of feeling frustrated only a few weeks into 2015, we need to give ourselves more time to get used to these changes. If you’re in the habit of putting off assignments, it makes sense that you won’t suddenly do them all in advance.
The study found that, oftentimes, our resolutions tend to focus on negative aspects of our personalities: we want to spend less money, drink less alcohol or lose a few pounds.
Katie Johnstone has come up with a possible solution to make her resolutions more attainable and enjoyable.
“Everyone is susceptible to falling into the trap of improvement, whether it’s exercising more or eating healthier. I think if you aren’t willing to take the first step to facilitate a new hobby, then it will never work,” said Johnstone, ConEd ’16. “My resolution is to do something that I enjoy.”
An avid craft-lover, she said she wanted to diversify her crafts more this year.
“I typically stick to one stream of crafting and I chose this resolution because I thought it was something more tangible than self-improvement resolutions.”
Perhaps it’s time to recognize that when our heart isn’t in it, it’s better to spend time doing something we genuinely love. That’s when we start to see improvement — no matter what our unconscious desires may say.
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