New Year, New You?

An opinionated piece discussing why New Year Resolutions end up failing.


Claire McLoughlin

New Year’s Resolutions are in some cases, a tradition. Maybe a tradition that fails? New Year Resolutions are supposed to be a goal that you set for yourself at the start of the New Year. Maybe you want to start working out and lose weight. Maybe you want to start a new diet or focus on mental health. But what differentiates a goal from a New Year’s resolution? Goals are achievements you want to reach. You can set goals at any time to work towards something. A New Year’s Resolution is one main goal you set for yourself to work for all year round. According to a study conducted by Scranton University, forty-five percent of Americans actually make New Year’s resolutions and only about eight percent succeed in fulfilling that year-round goal. 

But why do New Year’s Resolutions exactly fail? One of the biggest reasons people fail to keep their resolutions is because they’re year-round goals. Imagine trying to keep the same goal year-round. What happens when you reach that goal? Do you go back to your old ways? Another problem with resolutions is that they’re not specific enough. For example, resolving to “exercise more” or ” lose weight” are easy ways to set yourself up for failure as they lack ways to mark progress and are unlikely to keep you motivated throughout the year. Another problem people face when making resolutions is framing them with a negative mindset. When people make resolutions to stop wasting money or stop eating junk food, for example, it often backfires because it makes them think about the very thing they’re trying to avoid. You also have to remember to set realistic resolutions. Saying, “I want to find true love,” or “I want to live a stress-free life,” is unrealistic. You can’t just decide to live stress-free. You have to be able to set resolutions that you are able to work to. Also, sorry guys but we can’t just “decide” to find the love of our lives with a resolution. Unfortunately for us, it doesn’t work that way or we would’ve been skipping into the sunset with our baes by now. The only way to get the chance of succeeding in a resolution is to set realistic, achievable, and specific goals. 

Instead of a resolution at the start of the New Year, set personal goals throughout the year that you can keep improving on. Making one resolution at the start of the year is honestly foolish. If you have extreme levels of ambition, go for it. I am sure you will be able to achieve that resolution. But keep in mind what you have to go through. People often underestimate what it is going to take to achieve that resolution. When making resolutions, you lack the willpower to do so. Nineteen percent of individuals end up keeping their resolutions from a study by Scranton University. Most resolutions are abandoned by February, and some don’t even last a week. You have to start a resolution or goal when you are ready. Don’t just wait for January 1st and think of a resolution to last all year. I am not saying that you shouldn’t make resolutions, it is very admirable to do so, but make sure that your resolutions are fit to you where you can end up achieving them by the end of the year.