New Years Resolutions: Are they really helpful?

The year is over, and 2020 is finally here. January is usually the time to start acting on the saying “New year, new me,” by making new year’s resolutions to improve on yourself.

January is also the time where people start mocking new year’s resolutions.

“I think it’s more the ‘new year new me’ mentality,” junior Benjamin Ramsey said. “The calendar changes, it’s a new year, it gives you a change.”

Why do so many people mock new year’s resolutions? It’s because many people who make them fail to live up to their goals. A study done in 2019 said that 80 percent of people give up on their resolutions by the second week of January. It’s so common for this to happen that it has become a recurring meme. 

“Nobody ever follows them, but I think it’s cool to have a goal for the year,” said freshman Cameron Welsh

Lack of motivation, procrastination, and unrealistic goals can play into this problem. Sometimes we make unrealistic resolutions that we are physically, mentally, or emotionally incapable of accomplishing. 

“I think (new year’s resolutions are) lies we tell ourselves to make us feel happy,” said freshman Liam Leak.

New year’s resolutions usually are intended to last until next year, and the long timeframe may encourage one to put off the change until it’s too late. People can also lose motivation to complete the resolution. One cannot hope to suddenly gain motivation to do something just because it is a new year. 

“Honestly I don’t (do new year’s resolutions),” said senior Kirsten Christensen. “I just strive to better myself in every way I possibly can. Resolutions I feel can be lost very easily, but if you work on yourself without the pressure, you can make strides.”

The way you frame your resolution can also affect your success rate. Unspecific resolutions are hard to keep track of and mark progress of, and can cause lack of motivation. It’s easier to drop out of something that doesn’t have a clear endpoint. Another problem is a negative way of framing. The way you phrase a resolution can change the way you perceive it. Negative phrasing doesn’t work because it reminds you of the very thing you’re trying to avoid.

Resolutions I feel can be lost very easily, but if you work on yourself without the pressure, you can make strides.”

— senior Kirsten Christensen

“I think that if there was something you really wanted to change about yourself, you wouldn’t have waited for a certain occasion or holiday to change it, you would have already done it by then,” said Ramsey

New year’s resolutions often fail, but that doesn’t mean they’re bad ideas. There’s no point in not trying. You don’t lose anything if you fail, and if you’re the 20 percent that succeed, you improve upon yourself.