Resolutions aren’t the way to a new ‘you’

This year, I have resolved to eat a little bit healthier and exercise a little more often. Both are things that I have pretty easily attained and will be able to continue doing—nothing too unreasonable.

Some people, however, go slightly overboard with their resolutions. It seems as though many people believe that once the New Year rolls around, they are suddenly reborn and become this whole new, better person: “I am going to go to the gym every single day and lose 100 pounds in three months!” This is a little absurd considering this person has likely not used their gym membership since they bought it.

People always say, “This is my year; this year I’m going to stick with it.” And while I certainly admire the perseverance and determination of these over-the-top resolutionists, most of them can’t seem to stay with their goals for more than a few weeks.

After years and years filled with millions of broken resolutions, one would think that people would have realized that always setting such extreme goals for themselves will likely result in failure. What is it about the New Year that tricks people into thinking there is no other time of year they could possibly improve things about themselves?

The same can be applied to the holidays. Why is it that people always start a diet after they have gorged themselves with calorie-packed foods for weeks on end? It seems far more logical to begin a diet before the holidays when all of those extra pounds haven’t yet been packed on. This will result in less work on the dieter’s part.

That being said, if your resolution is to exercise more, why didn’t you get a head start before the holidays rolled around? You would have had the leg-up on all of your friends and wouldn’t have had to work twice as hard to shed those holiday love-handles.

While I understand the draw of starting the year on a new foot (because I am also guilty), New Year’s resolutions have unfortunately become more of a competition between friends or family members than a personal self-improvement project, as they should be. “I am going to work out every other day,” says Suzy. “Oh yeah, well, I am going to work out every day,” says JoJo.

Don’t resolve to do better than your friend. Resolve to do better than yourself. Just make sure to resolve within reach.

Extreme resolutions will get you resolutionists nowhere. Why not just make it your goal to walk more during the day? Or even eat more fruits and veggies instead of that bag of greasy potato chips? Or cook more of your own meals instead of going out to eat?

Little changes like these are the ones that will lead to goals being attained. These are the resolutions that you will actually stick to, and you’ll feel better about yourself knowing that you are doing something that is better for you. It is the small changes that will lead to bigger, long-term ones. Huge, sudden lifestyle changes very rarely end up being long-term.

Changing habits is not something that can be done overnight, which is why resolutions often fail. You have to start out small and progressively go bigger as you feel you can handle the change. Resolve to eat less junk food. This may lead to eating more fruits and veggies which may, in turn, lead to becoming more active. As you get used to living a healthier lifestyle it becomes easier to make more small changes for the better.

Now, I will certainly not sit here and claim to be a health expert or dieting expert, but everything that I have mentioned seems to be common sense. And yet, so many people keep making resolutions they know they cannot keep.

Statistically, only about ten percent of resolutions are actually kept. About 80 percent of people who resolve have already failed by Jan. 20.

The point is, what is the point of New Year’s resolutions? Most of them fail. So why not resolve to resolve in a few months or on a smaller scale? All of these would statistically yield better results.

Don’t resolve just to resolve. If you want to make a change, it shouldn’t matter the time of year.