Confidently achieve your New Year’s Resolution



Melissa Puppo

Midnight marked the start of many resolutions for many people. And many came up with the same old, “I will quit smoking,” “I will try eating healthier,” or  “I will get a better job.”  

It’s pretty obvious the same results quickly came for most of these after a week of trying the new resolution – failure. 

Several questions arise when discussing New Year’s resolutions: Why do they work for some rather than others? Why do people even make them if they have such a high rate of failure? Is there even a need to make one?

Some students, like Stephanie Roy, a senior integrated health science major, said she stopped making resolutions because they always fell through. 

“You always make something then a few weeks later break it,” she said.

People feel the need to make these decisions only at this specific time of the year. The issue shouldn’t be whether it’s time for the annual resolution making decision; it should be are you actually mentally and sometimes physically ready to make the changes? 

The new trend may be to ditch the resolutions entirely and try something a little easier to accomplish.

It’s takes a lot more than to write down your resolution on a piece of paper or save it in your phone. It takes work and dedication. 

“I’ve seen some studies where it can take months for a habit to develop into something or for a change to develop,” said John Updegraff, an associate psychology professor. “I think a lot of people don’t realize that, so they might be over confident about changes that they’re making and realize ‘oh I actually have to put a lot of work into making a change.”

Tough changes don’t always stack up with reality, either. If you’re not at all ready or mentally prepared to quick smoking a pack of cigarettes a day, you probably won’t succeed.

The better alternative is to create several goals and actions for the New Year that will eventually turn into healthy habits to better one’s self. Now, doesn’t that sound better? Ease into it. 

“One of the reason I think people fail is they don’t make specific enough plans,” Updegraff said. “They set resolutions as being a goal but they don’t set plans to accomplish it. That’s one of the secrets of making resolutions that stick. “

With help from Updegraff, Scout McCully, an experimental psychology graduate, led a study January of last year where she recruited more than 170 students who said they had just set a goal to increase their physical activity. 

According to Updegraff, he and McCully followed the students for six weeks and found one of the biggest factors that predicted whether people would stick with their exercise plan was planning. Students who reported better planning regarding how they were going to increase their physical activity were almost 50 percent more likely to be meeting guidelines for physical activities compared to students with reported weaker plans.  

Realize as well it’s OK for minor setbacks. Nothing is perfect, so don’t get discouraged the first time you oversleep when you planned to wake up early to work out. It is unrealistic to not have any issues when first trying out the new goals for the year and beyond. 

Don’t forget that there’s also help available. For health, wellness and fitness questions and goals, visit the Recreational Services Personal Training and Fitness Consultations page, or talk to someone in the University Health Services and Department or Psychology department for help and support.

What’s important to realize is New Year’s resolutions don’t necessarily have to be based on huge lifestyle changes, either. Keep in mind you can make simpler goals like you want to smile more or you want to join an activity or club you’ve always wanted to try.

Little things will add up to a happier and confident you! This is your year; you can do it.

*Side note: I’m making my own set of goals for the new year, and to keep you just as motivated, I’ll be giving weekly updates in every ksuBUZZ. This week only, you can find my into on KentWired, and look for my regular column in the “Etc.” section!