New Year’s resolutions – the struggle is real
by Yvanne Dandan
|Bucket List Item #24: Hold a snake wrapped around my neck.
Completed June 23, 2013
Bucket list Item #7: Earn my undergraduate degree.
“My goal for 2017 is to accomplish the goals of 2016, which I should have done in 2015 because I made a promise in 2014 that I planned back in 2013…”
I saw the above quote as a post on Instagram and all I can say is: #relatable. Although I have always considered myself to be goal-oriented, of course, there are times when I fall short of reaching my goals. This is especially true when it comes to setting and achieving my New Year’s resolutions. In fact, I have journals filled with my New Year’s resolutions from previous years and I can’t help but notice that there are some items that just seem to consistently get carried over from year to year. It’s both hilarious and frustrating at the same time.
Personally, I am determined to finally get to the bottom of why some items just keep on getting carried over. So unlike previous years where I would jump right into the new year with recycled resolutions, I am first going to ask myself: “Why am I having a hard time keeping my New Year’s resolutions?
As I was reading on this topic, I was not surprised by the overwhelming amount of research done on this topic. I will share the top three most commonly talked about with you here:
1. “People aren’t ready to change their habits, particularly bad habits, and that accounts for the high failure rate.” (Timothy Pychyl, Psychology Professor at Carlton University in Canada)
No matter how good the intent of the resolution is; it is always challenging trying to break old habits. A friend once shared with me that before trying to break a bad habit, you really have to internalize and embrace the consequences of not changing. This will strengthen your resolve when faced with the temptations. Also, you have to de-clutter and be in an environment that will help you during this time. For example, if you want to do better in school, you may choose to set aside some time during the week dedicated to studying instead of going out with friends.
2. “People set unrealistic goals and expectations” (Dr. Avya Sharma, Canadian Obesity Network)
I can absolutely relate with this one! When setting any new goals for yourself, it is integral to ask the question “is this realistic?” Goals were meant for us to work towards a sense of accomplishment, but it is also very possible that, if the goals are unrealistic, we may set ourselves up for failure instead. Consider keeping the guiding acronym “SMART” in mind when creating and reviewing your resolutions:
SMART = Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Time-Based.
3. “Cause and effect relationship where, for example, you may think that if you lose weight your life will change, and when it does not, you may get discouraged and revert back to old behaviours” (Ray Williams, Breaking Bad Habits)
In my opinion, this is probably the most important one of all. It is crucial for us to re-examine our intentions for our resolutions and not ignore the “why” questions. You may be (1) ready to change your habits, (2) have created realistic and SMART goals, but (3) if your “why” is not of pure intent, then you may find yourself five steps further away from where you started.
So, what to take from all of this? Keeping resolutions throughout the entire year is a challenge. Believe me; I know. However, the point is to get up and try again. The purpose of making resolutions is to motivate ourselves; not to feel discouraged.
So to all of you who just kicked-off your New Year’s resolutions, I wish you all the best! Stay inspired and encourage one another. Happy New Year!
Yvanne currently studies Independent Performance and Songwriting at Seneca College in Toronto, ON. Prior to Yvanne’s move, she completed a Business Administration degree (University of Winnipeg) and International Event and Wedding Planning Professional certificate (QC Career School). Above all, Yvanne is a big dreamer and is delighted to have the opportunity to share her thoughts and adventures. Search the hashtag #diaryofthedreamer on various social media to follow more of Yvanne’s journey