Jumping head first into New Year’s resolutions isn’t a good idea

Graphic by Alan Li

Last Monday, I foolishly left my warm house and walked down to the gym in Antarctica-like weather, for a quick workout. I say “foolishly” not because working out is stupid, but because it’s January and all the people who have the “New Year, New Me” mentality are ALL there.

These are the people who, at the beginning of a new year, all flock to the gym to “start their year off right” by working out for the first two to three weeks of January and quickly give up altogether.

Not only could I not get my workout done, I couldn’t even find a single  locker to keep my stuff in. What made this even worse was that there were plenty of occupied lockers that didn’t even have locks.

I can’t help but ask myself: how can someone plan to consistently keep up a gym regime when they don’t have the foresight to invest in a lock?

So, to all the “New Year, New Me” people who think that this year is different and you will actually stick to your plan: many of you won’t. Some of you will fail. This week, at least half of those with new year’s resolutions will give up on their plans and go back to eating BBQ chips and watching reruns of The Office – not that there’s anything wrong with that, really.

I may sound like a cynic, but research from the University of Scranton agrees with me. Only 9.2% of people who make resolutions will actually succeed.

What’s more exhausting than trying a new resolution? Hearing people complain about how they failed on theirs.

One main reason that people fail at this is because they  go gung-ho with no mental training and crash within the first three weeks. It’s like that scene from This is the End when Seth Rogan says he’s on a gluten cleanse, then in the next scene, he and Jay Baruchel are guzzling down Carl’s Jr. in a parking lot.

The key to successfully completing a New Year’s resolution is to take it slow and work your way up to  it. Resolutions are like training any new habit; you need to take it slow and get used to it to get better at it. And it’s important to remember that you are expected to fail at the beginning of trying something new.

For example, I have a few resolutions myself. One is to  workout more at the gym and the other is to not sleep in until 1 p.m. in the afternoon every day.

Have I been going to the gym every day and getting up at 6 a.m.? Hell no! Up to the date of this article I have been to the gym five times this year and have slept in until 1 p.m. admittedly more times than I should have.

Another thing to keep in mind when choosing resolutions is to pick something simple. For example, going to the gym and getting up earlier are simple things someone can do to improve themselves. But picking something like “I’m going to read a book every day” when you can’t even do your course readings might be a little out of your reach.

The idea behind New Year’s resolutions is  to improve something about  yourself that you find inadequate. When people go all in and use all their energy at the start, they quit easily and fall reluctantly back into their old habits.

What’s more exhausting than trying a new resolution? Hearing people complain about how they failed on theirs.

If more people just chose something simple to work on slowly, one day at a time, a lot less people would be complaining about failing come February.

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