Don’t think too big when it comes to resolutions

It’s that time of year again: time for our Facebook newsfeeds to be filled with the New Year’s resolutions of our friends and family.

University students seem to have a love-hate relationship with making resolutions; we either go overboard and resolve to change our entire lives, or we rant to anyone who will listen about how ridiculous the whole practice is.

I tend to fall into the first category. I think the start of a new year is a great opportunity to reflect on the past year and make some changes, if you go about it in the right way.

The problem is, most people don’t make practical resolutions.

The main problem a lot of people have with New Year’s resolutions is that people rarely follow through with them. We listen to our friends claim that this is the year that they will quit smoking or stop eating junk food, while secretly rolling our eyes because we know that they will be the first one to suggest a late night McDonald’s trip next week.

It’s almost as if people think of New Year’s resolutions as a list of unrealistic goals that they “should” want to work towards, rather than a realistic list that they hope to accomplish within the next year.

I should start keeping a tally of the number of people who resolve to lose weight, with no concrete plans to change their diet or exercise routine. Being healthy is always a great goal, but if you have no intention of changing your habits, don’t tell everyone that you do just because it’s January 1st.

In my opinion, the best resolutions you can make are specific goals. Instead of saying “I am going to lose weight this year,” focus on how you will do it. Decide right from the beginning how many times you plan to go to the gym, or what foods you will cut back on.

That being said, if you want to have any hope of keeping your resolutions, they need to be attainable. By our age, we know ourselves and what we are actually capable of accomplishing in a year. While it’s great to want to improve your schoolwork, don’t resolve to get straight A’s this semester if you currently have a D average.

This is just setting you up for failure and makes you more likely to give up altogether. Start small, and revisit your goals in a few months once you’ve achieved them.

My biggest mistake when making resolutions in the past was making daunting goals and having no idea where to begin.

I am also a fan of small, fun resolutions at this time of year. Winter break gives us a chance to binge watch new shows on Netflix, yes, but it is also a great opportunity to think about the things that we haven’t made time for yet and would like to in the future.

Always wanted to take up yoga or learn to cook? Now is a good time as any to start.

Your resolutions don’t need to involve revising your entire life like most people seem to think.

While a lot of people get sick of hearing about others’ New Year’s resolutions, I think telling people your goals is imperative. If you think something will be hard to stick to, tell your family or your roommates so that they can hold you accountable when you revert back to your old couch potato ways.

Sticking to long-term goals can be hard amid the pressures of university. Everyone can benefit from having a support system to keep them motivated, especially when taking on a big commitment.

Another complaint I have heard about making New Year’s resolutions is that if people really wanted to change, they wouldn’t wait until January 1st to do so.

I definitely agree that you shouldn’t have to wait until a new year starts to makes changes in your life. If you are happy with yourself and the way your life is going, that’s great. If not then change something, no matter the time of year.

I like to make “New Semester resolutions” every four months. It sounds a little silly, but it keeps me focused on my long-term goals which often get forgotten once midterms hit.

As for me, I have resolved to go to the gym three times a week, to learn to walk in heels and to write more – looks like I’m off to a good start! Hopefully my friends reading this will help hold me accountable.

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