On setting goals for the new year

Marina Boyle, Features editor

New year, new me?

New year, same me.

I am a true skeptic when it comes to New Year’s resolutions.

Most people make them fervently or see them as the best way to start a new year.

It’s not that I don’t get it or see the point; it’s the fact that I think they don’t work.

By the time you read this article, most of you will have forgotten your resolutions, abandoned them or given up altogether.

Most of us start the year with a lofty goal in mind and end up disliking ourselves when our resolve slips.

I feel it is so much healthier to go into a new year with a mindset of progress, not perfection.

We often need to coax ourselves into changing long-standing habits and do this in a kind way that doesn’t uproot us from our established day-to-day normal lives.

Resolutions ask too much of us because they come at one of the most difficult times of the year.

The timing is all wrong in terms of the weather.

The worst time to establish a resolution is when the weather around you will be pushing you to break it.

We are often far too vague in planning how we will achieve the goal we have set for ourselves.

On top of that, many New Year’s resolutions have no clear endpoint.

One reason that something like Lent tends to work better for people is that their goals are normally more clear.

An example of this would be having a goal like, “no chocolate for 40 days” rather than a more general, less specific goal like “lose weight.”

Having a time limit on my restrictions and knowing when I will be rewarded has always worked better.

For example, most people find it much easier to stick to Dry January than to take on the broad, vague challenge of “drink less this year.”

Resolutions such as these are particularly problematic because less is subjective.

Less than what?

Less than last weekend or than all of your friends combined?

Most people need a lot of structure so that they can carry out something specific over a period of weeks to make it a developed habit.

On top of that, I think that most New Year’s resolutions tend to fail because the goals are set to be done alone.

Going it alone doesn’t help you.

A goal is so much easier to stick to if you have someone in it with you.

Most of us require accountability to get something done day after day.

Unfortunately, we usually do not have someone checking up on us.

In reality, life is really about attitude.

We need to want to do something enough to make it happen, be it in January or July.

For the people who have made resolutions and stuck to them, I salute you. I admire your drive.

I hope we can all find satisfaction in the experience of bettering ourselves throughout all points of the year rather than just focusing on a single towering goal of 2019.