Are New Year’s Resolutions Worth The Effort?

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Everyone, or so it would seem has made a New Year’s resolution at some time in their life, in fact most people have made several. Resolutions are meant to be a commitment an individual makes to themselves in order to accomplish a goal in the upcoming calendar year.  From getting fit, eating better, quitting smoking or even traveling the world, all the resolutions stand for the same purpose, to make an individual a better version of themselves.

                The large majority of people don’t stick to their new year’s resolutions for a multitude of reasons. Yet some are successful, continuing to push the tradition forward by offering a glimmer of hope that achieving a new year’s resolution can be more than a fantasy.

 Zach Miller, a 10th grader said that, “Every year I’ve wanted to be healthier” and followed up by explaining that he had actually kept his goal in previous years.

                Researchers at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania found that people see dates in time such as birthdays, New Year’s or even a start to a new week as, “temporal landmarks” — an imaginary line demarcating the old “inferior” self from a new and improved version” cited Fox News. Many people’s attempts at recreating themselves manifest in literal and deliberate goals they make for the upcoming year, they may even measure their worth by their ability to accomplish that objective.  

                Setting resolutions at the beginning of the year “makes you think about it more and want to try” sophomore Jess Bujak said.

                It is also important to explore the more personal and complicated reason as to why individuals make the resolutions they do. Researchers studied a group of cadets at West point and discovered those with strong interior motives for being in the service performed better and were more resilient than those with more practical and concrete motivations such as a high paying job. The same can be said as far as resolutions go, those with interior motives are bound to be more successful in reaching their goals.

New Year’s resolutions may not sound promising, but there are ways in which an individual can maximize their chances at success. Some economists did a study where they found that resolutions are more likely to be kept if a person is placed in a “financial bind”. Money is a crucial part to many people’s lives, and being at a deficit due to their own actions causes a looming guilt and even anxiety among many. This causes individuals to do whatever possible in order to avoid the consequence of loosing funds.

In the story posted on NPR it was noted that, “A group of volunteers quitting smoking deposit money into a savings account. If, after 6 months, they passed a surprise nicotine test, the money was returned. If not, that money went to charity.”

This group was at least slightly more likely to achieve their goal to stop smoking than their counterparts participating in the control group. The experiment can also be recreated with a multitude of different goals. Even if an individual does not reach their goals, someone still benefits in the situation, when the losses are donated to charity.

Resolutions and goal setting should be done “with someone else so you can help each other” 10th graders Jess Bujak and Riley Holloway explained.

Another dependable method to achieve goals also cited by NPR is for a person to speak to themselves in second or third person, in their head of course. An example of this process would be for an individual to ask themselves, “Why does Mary feel the way she does” as an alternative to, “Why do I feel this way.” This allows them to disconnect from the situation, feel less anxious and perform better when a conflict arises.

Holloway concluded that “Setting goals and periodically checking in on them” may be more efficient then and resolution would be. 

Many New Year’s resolutions end up thrown by the way side as early as the end of January, but that doesn’t have to be the case. Creating goals backed by strong motives, making negative consequences that are implemented when goals are not completed and getting rid of temptations can all help an individual be more successful.

               

               

               

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Are New Year’s Resolutions Worth The Effort?