So Why Should We Put Time Into Our New Years Resolutions?

Alex Stenman, staff writer

For centuries, humans have used the incoming new year as a method to set new goals for who they want to be in the future. These goals, dubbed “New Year’s resolutions,” can motivate people to improve their lives. However, it’s no secret that a large number of the people who set these resolutions don’t end up carrying out their year-long plans, and eventually give up or fail.

The idea behind “New Year’s resolutions” is that by formally acknowledging existing or potential problems in a person’s lifestyle at the beginning of the year, they will be motivated to adjust their present behavior to produce notable change. However, this method is inherently flawed. For one, many people create resolutions simply to feel better about themselves going into the new year. These people set resolutions and may intend to follow them closely for a short period, but quickly lose interest and cop out of actually fulfilling the set goals. In other words, people lie to themselves by creating resolutions for a temporary sense of self-fulfillment. According to data gathered by, in a survey of 1,000 Americans, almost fifty percent of those surveyed said they no longer kept up with their resolutions just one month after setting them.

So why does this lack of commitment occur? Part of it has to do with people being too ambitious when choosing goals for the year, or not being ambitious enough when defining them. Instead of having a refined goal, such as resolving to lose thirty pounds, individuals will set a vague goal, such as resolving to “lose weight.” People often won’t specify how they plan to lose the weight and will fail to lay out the steps necessary to do so. This can give people an excuse to procrastinate and underachieve, as whether they lose four pounds or forty pounds, they will still have met the goal they set. On the other hand, if someone sets an unrealistic or impossible goal, such as to become a billionaire, they are purposely setting a goal that they know is unlikely to be completed, making it easier to create excuses and avoid working on the resolution.

More issues can arise if someone chooses too many resolutions. For instance, if someone wants to lose weight, earn more money, volunteer more, learn to play an instrument, and to find the love of their life, they’ll have a much easier time failing to complete all of these goals. It’s much easier to claim they were “never serious” about these goals if there’s a ridiculous number of them.

New Year’s resolutions are only useful and effective if a person defines their goals clearly and commits to pursuing them. A resolution that isn’t too broad and isn’t overwhelming is the most likely to be successful. Striving towards a refined resolution can help you better yourself as a person, and can potentially help better society by encouraging positive thinking and goal setting.