It's easier to stick to a goal when you have a support group. | Joseph Pack/Mustang News

Madi Salvati

[follow id =”MadiSalvati”]

The champagne has been popped, the confetti has been thrown and the year has come to a close.

Bringing in the new year is a celebration for everyone and almost always involves the making of New Year’s resolutions. Whether it’s to lose a few pounds or be a better person, resolutions are a staple to the festivities.

But a week later, that couch is looking a whole lot more inviting than the gym. That new shiny attitude might involve more fake smiling than imagined, and that whole no-sugar idea? Forget it. That pint of Ben & Jerry’s “Peanut Butter Fudge” has been sitting in the freezer way too long.

Why do so many struggle to keep their New Year’s endeavors? It’s possible that wonderfully ambitious attitude may have been induced by one too many glasses of bubbly or you’ve bitten off more than you can chew. Whatever the dilemma, there are manageable steps to be taken to achieve resolutions — that way you won’t wind up wondering how in the world you came to be sitting on the kitchen floor, devouring the last three pieces of leftover Domino’s pizza.

Most common New Year’s resolutions

According to Time Warner Inc., the top 10 most commonly broken resolutions are to lose weight, quit smoking, learn something new, eat healthier, get out of debt and save money, spend more time with family, travel to new places, volunteer, be less stressed and drink less.

But let’s be honest, no one is going to quit smoking overnight or wake up on Jan. 1 and suddenly have an appetite for kale and African cucumber. These things take time and reasonable goal-setting that can be made possible when you allow yourself room to get used to something new.

Why they don’t always work out

It’s hard to stick to something that is not in your reach yet. Being over-ambitious can get in the way of making manageable goals.

According to Shannon Stephens, director of the Mustang Success Center, making the resolution is not the hard part. It’s sticking to it.

“You have to set a goal that’s realistic and something that is worth the sort of commitment it’s going to take,” Stephens said.

Commitment is key in succeeding at a resolution, but it often doesn’t work out. The resolutions aren’t always realistic in terms of what someone wants to change and the time they give themselves.

Stephens also explained that specificity is another component.

“You have to be specific, realistic and have a time component,” Stephens said.

Steps to making manageable resolutions

Step one: Recognize that you are not superhuman.

Having super powers would help maintain resolutions. However, you can’t set goals around the mentality that you’re going to wake up on Jan. 1 and go for a 10-mile run when you’ve never run farther than a mile in your life.

Seth Bush, associate professor for the chemistry department, also put it into perspective.

“Take small bites,” Bush said. “It’s oftentimes hard because we have this ideal of what we want to do, who we want to be. I think, in the moment, we get caught up in that and make promises to ourselves that don’t make much sense.”

Step two: Be nice to yourself.

Come on, if you love chocolate and have eaten it every day since you can remember, no one’s going to win if you completely shun it from your diet. You’re only going to want it more when you haven’t eaten it in a week.

It’s OK to allow yourself small breaks from your resolution when it’s in moderation.

Step three: Know you don’t have to do it alone.

Stephens mentioned that it’s easier to stick to a goal when you have support.

“Find someone to hold you accountable,” Stephens said.

Have someone text you to remind you to work out, or better yet work out together. Friends make it more fun, and you might be more motivated.

Step four: Set smart goals 

The ideal “smart goal” is specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timely. Having these characteristics in mind when you make a New Year’s resolution will make resisting that chocolate possible.

This system of goal-setting can not only help in the short term, but make the long term feasible.

In addition, Stephen mentioned that when the goal you set isn’t something you’re excited about, you probably won’t be very successful.

“Make your New Year’s resolution worthwhile, otherwise, why do it?”

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *