Keeping New Years resolutions through the New Year

The Ultimate Guide to Sticking to Goals and Keeping Them

stux on CreativeCommons

stux on CreativeCommons

Allison A., Editor-in-Chief

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Ah, December! The time of year to make gingerbread houses, sing Christmas carols, and- oh yeah- reflect on the past year’s mistakes and decide how to improve for next year.

Like clockwork, every year on January first, millions of people set out on their New Year’s Resolution goal. And annually, millions fail on their new goals around the mid-January range; the lucky ones only manage to make it until February or March. So why do people bother, especially when they know the success rate is so low? And why do people fail to reach their goals?
For most, resolutions begin with a negative word. A “stop,” or “don’t,” send the brain into thinking it cannot do something, obviously lowering motivation significantly. Without motivation, nothing can be done well.

Instead of using a negative word for a resolution, begin on a more positive note, or even more of an “I,” statement. “I will strive to maintain good grades this semester,” or “start running every morning,” opposed to the “don’t skip leg day,” line. But c’mon, who skips leg day?

The ancient Babylonians began the resolution practice over 5,000 years ago. Their secret? Not following through on their promises meant swaying from the god’s favor and into curses- obviously not a place anyone would like to be.

In ancient Rome, a resolution practice similar to the Babylonians’ occurred. For the start of the year, the Romans gave sacrifices and gifts to their gods and pledged good behavior for the new year.
The present day focuses more on self-improvements, which must be why it is so hard to follow through on, but is still entirely possible.

When focusing the next year on self-improvement, start the goal off positively and remember, failing the Babylonians means failing yourself. But hey, with 5,000 years of practice, it should be alright, right?

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