New Year’s Resolutions: Why Do People Make New Year’s Resolutions, and Do They Keep Them?

Brittney Means, Opinion Editor

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If you didn’t make a New Year’s Resolution, don’t worry about it.  Chances are you would have broken it anyway.

2012 is here filled with new goals, new ideas and new diet plans.  These resolutions may seem like a good idea and January may lead one to think it’s a new year and the perfect time to make life changes but according to Psychology Today, “Research has shown that, after six months, fewer than half the people who make New Year’s resolutions have stuck with them, and, after a year, that number declines to around ten percent.”  Even with those statistics, Psychology Today also says that sixty percent of people will make the same resolution the next year.

People like the idea of starting fresh the beginning of a new year.  It’s the perfect time to make changes.  Also, New Year’s Resolutions are a part of tradition.  “It’s said that Julius Caesar started the tradition of making resolutions on January 1st as a way to honor the Roman mythical god Janus, whose two faces allowed him to look back into the past year and forward to the new year. Romans mostly made morality-based resolutions, such as seeking forgiveness from their enemies.” says, Margarita Tartakovsky, M.S. Associate Editor of Psych Central in her article “Why We Make New Year’s Resolutions.”

People probably know that their chances of keeping their resolutions are very slim, but they still have hope.  Psychology Today says that one of the positives to making New Year’s Resolutions is that “setting a resolution immediately puts people in a better mood. They feel more confident, in control, and hopeful. They even feel stronger and taller.”

A new year brings a fresh start which brings a fresh body image.  It’s no surprise that weight loss is the number one New Year’s resolution.  There are lots of diet plans floating around and January is the perfect time to start eating right because it is right after the holidays and it gives a person a few months to get their “beach bod.”  But many people know that sticking to diet and exercise is a lot easier said, than done.  The solution: make mini goals along with your big resolution.  Instead of just making a goal to lose twenty pounds, make other smaller goals as well like giving up snack foods, and taking the stairs instead of the elevator.  This will make keeping the big resolution a lot easier.

If New Year’s resolutions fail, don’t give up.  According to Psychology today, “Research shows that the average person makes a resolution five or six times before they succeed.” The more times a person makes the same resolution, the better chance one has of accomplishing that goal.  Also, don’t wait until the next New Year to pick up the resolution that was broken halfway through February; start it right away. This will help meet the overall goal.  No one said keeping a New Year’s Resolution was easy, in fact, they all say it’s hard and near impossible.  Make a resolution to not give up.

Another way to avoid breaking New Year’s Resolutions is to make ones that inspire you.  A person is a lot more likely to stick to a goal that they are passionate about.  Make a resolution to do one thing a day that makes you happy.  An article in Psychology Today says, “At least as much as denying yourself pleasures, doing things that make life joyous and meaningful will promote your health and wellbeing in the long term – and in the short term too.” Go for the dream you have always had.  Quit telling yourself “someday”; start today.

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