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Pavelko: It’s OK if you’ve given up on your New Year’s resolutions

Pavelko%3A+Its+OK+if+youve+given+up+on+your+New+Years+resolutions

Editor’s Note: All opinion section content reflects the views of the individual author only and does not represent a stance taken by The Collegian or its editorial board.

Historians estimate that New Year’s resolutions have been a tradition for thousands of years. What started as promises to the gods worshiped by the ancient Babylonians has transformed into a tradition of self-improvement. 

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Since the beginning of January, gyms have been at capacity, people have been watching guided meditation videos on YouTube and self-care journals have been sold out at Targets nationwide. That might be a bit of an exaggeration, but this is what it feels like leaving the house at the beginning of the new year. 

However, by February, people have usually forgotten about the resolutions they made at the start of the year. Journals are abandoned, people stop making time for the gym and learning to manage stress goes completely out the window when classes and work start again.

In addition to being nonspecific, most resolutions are unsustainable. We create big ambitions, especially when we start thinking “new year, new me.”

Maybe this is a little disappointing to hear, but honestly, it’s OK if you’ve already given up on your resolutions.

A survey conducted by Forbes found that the typical New Year’s resolution lasts 3.74 months before people give up on it. People forget about their resolutions around March and make no further progress for the rest of the year. Then Jan. 1 rolls around again, and the endless cycle continues.

In order to have a goal that is actually sustainable for the entire year, your goal needs to include specifics. If your goal is to get in shape by going to the gym, that’s a good starting point, but what does it mean? It could mean that you want to run a marathon by the end of the year, or it could mean that you want to be able to do a pushup. Our goals are often ambiguous and leave us with no actual goal — just the idea of a goal.

So give up on those nonspecific resolutions, and flesh out a real goal. Because if you don’t have a clear idea of the endgame of your goal, you will lose motivation quickly. Think about where you want to be in December. Maybe you really do want to be able to run that marathon, or maybe you just want to be able to run a mile. Get specific with what you really want to be able to do.

In addition to being nonspecific, most resolutions are unsustainable. We create big ambitions, especially when we start thinking “new year, new me.” However, starting too fast can cause you to lose steam by the time February rolls around. If you resolve to read one book per week when you typically only read one per year, it is easy to get burnt out early into the year.

So start with little goals. Start them tomorrow. I mean, who said we have to wait for a new year to work on self-improvement? We should be working on improving ourselves the entire year instead of trying to lump it all together in January. It does not need to be “a new year and a new me”; it could be “a new day and a slightly new me.”

It’s OK if you’ve already given up on your New Year’s resolutions. You can always reevaluate and try again.

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Reach Hana Pavelko at letters@collegian.com or on Twitter @hanasolo13.

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