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New Year’s Resolutions

Anusha Kumar

With 2018 well underway, the path of the new year remains unclear. For many of us, we hope to start anew and make a change. New Year’s resolutions have always shaped the first few weeks of the new year, but sooner or later, resolutions become too laborious to carry on. Society encourages change but change can be so difficult. Don’t worry; you’re not alone. U.S. News says that 80% of New Year’s resolutions fail by February. Whether or not you’re still keeping up with your resolutions, it’s important to understand if they’re even effective in the first place.

New Year’s resolutions are deeply rooted in a tradition begun by the ancient Babylonians, who are said to have been the first people to make resolutions, around 4,000 years ago. New Year’s celebrations were held by the people, although the new year began for them in mid-March, not January. During a long religious festival, Babylonians promised the gods to pay their debts and to return any objects they had borrowed. Similar events occurred in ancient Rome when January 1st was established as the beginning of the new year. The Romans made sacrifices for various deities and promised good conduct for the approaching year. The tradition soon began to spread to early Christians and other religions, leading to the common practice of New Year’s that we know of today.

The question remains, are New Year’s resolutions impactful in our daily lives? There really is no right answer. However, it is highly influenced by the resolution itself. Significant changes such as getting in shape or paying off debt are harder to reach. Oftentimes, major goals cannot be incorporated into the daily lifestyle and will be broken faster. Fear not; good resolutions aren’t as hard as they seem. Follow a few simple tips to make the most out of the new year:

 

 

  • Build on last year

 

Think of a habit that you have practiced in previous years and look for ways to improve upon those practices. Start simple and make a small improvement initially. For example, instead of trying to eat healthier, try reducing the number of times you eat dessert during the week.   

  1. Track your progress

Check in on your goals regularly, not in December at the end of the year. Try to make a new habit of reviewing your goals. Use a journal to record any progress made, either on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis. If you would like to be more accountable for your goals, tell someone about the resolutions you made and have them remind you every now and then.  

  1. Place importance on progress

Goals that we set in January may take longer than a single year to reach. However, do not be disappointed. This is no reason to stop working towards resolutions. When working on goals, progress is the priority, not time. At the end of the year, ask yourself, “Did I learn something new?” The end result is never insignificant. Each step of the process is important. If you practice and retain your focus on your goals, you will get there faster.

What are your goals for the new year?

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