How to Keep Your New Year's Resolutions

    Posted on Monday, Feb 25, 2019
    It’s been a while hasn’t it. How are your New Year’s resolutions holding up? Consecutively, the most popular resolutions of the year tend to revolve around cultivating a healthy lifestyle such as daily exercise, losing weight, and dieting. Following these resolutions are money practices, for instance saving more and spending less. Trailed by the financial resolutions are learning a new skill and reading more. While many people make resolutions at the start of the year, just as many give up on them. According to a statistic U.S. News published, by the second week of February nearly 80% of resolutions have failed. So, how do we beat these odds?
    1. Set a goal not a desire. There are two keywords here, did you catch them. They are goal and desire. Goals are better alternatives to a resolution formed from a desire because they tend to be specific, measurable. The more specific a goal is the more achievable it can be. While a desire may be “I want to lose weight”, a goal can be “I will exercise 30 minutes every day”. Consequently, as we work toward our goals they begin to give shape to our desires which then become closer to the reality we want.
    2. Make the goal attainable. Now that you have determined your goal do not overdo it. It is easy to be too ambitious. This overzealousness can be the result of the “planning fallacy”. It is a cognitive phenomenon in which we tend to underestimate how long a task will take to complete because of an optimistic bias. Break the fallacy trap by being honest with yourself, starting off small, and building up gradually.
    3. Don’t expect perfection. We are not perfect, nobody is. This advice overlaps with the aforementioned second point. The higher we set ourselves up, the harder we tend to fall and the worse we view ourselves in the aftermath of our failure. When this happens, we lose confidence and may eventually give up altogether. The amazing thing about new year’s resolutions are that you have an entire year to achieve them. Yes, that’s right! Just because you may have slipped up in January doesn’t mean you can’t get back on track.  
    4. Be consistent. Consistency stems from the root of self-discipline. Unfortunately, self-discipline is not a trait that comes naturally to us. It is something we must work to develop. The mere act of setting a resolution or goal does not elicit change, making a new habit does. Being deliberate and consistent in the execution of habits are how we can become successful at our goals.
    Happy New Year! Here’s to you and your goals for 2019.

    ---  Kalifa Stringfield
    Kalifa Stringfield is a Masters student in the College of Engineering 

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