How to Break Free from the Resolution Rut

We’re a month into the second semester and already the snowy weather and freezing temperatures seem to be taking their toll. As the weather outside gets bleaker, is your outlook for the New Year following suit? It’s hard, especially in these winter months, to keep up with New Year’s Resolutions, but you’re not alone. According to surveys, about 80 percent of the US population gives up on their resolutions by February. So, if you have already done so or are afraid that you might call it quits on your resolution, I have some tips on how to revise your goal into one that is successful. 1. Make sure your resolution is actually “your” resolution.

It’s important to be aware of yourself especially when the goal is to change or alter something in your own life. Make sure that the goal you’ve set out for yourself is not just something you want to achieve, but also something you want to do. You shouldn’t set a goal because you “think” it’s what other people would do or want you to do. If your heart isn’t in it and it’s not something enjoyable to you than you’re more likely to give up on it the first time you slip. Know yourself and know what you’re motivated to do. If your resolution is to be healthier, find things that fulfill not only that resolution but also your own personal desires. Maybe you’re a big foodie: look into Commons creations or recipes you can make that are more nutritious or vegan/vegetarian. 2. Don’t stress. Reassess.

It may feel impossible to de-stress at Bates sometimes, but it’s important to not beat yourself up if you fall off the wagon. If and when that happens, take time to reassess your plan instead of focusing on how your goal might seem impossible. Focus on things that might have made you revert to your old ways in the first place and see if you can work through them. For example, maybe your goal was to wake up earlier, but you’ve found yourself constantly snoozing your phone alarm. Buy an alarm clock instead, or place your phone across your room so you physically have to get out of bed. Make plans with friends to eat breakfast in Commons before class. Be patient; change doesn’t happen immediately. According to studies, it takes about 3 months for something to become a routine. It’s understandable if you have a couple of mess-ups here and there! 3. Avoid the usual pitfalls. Be “SMART.”

Around 35% of people who gave up on their resolutions report having set unrealistic goals, 33% report not keeping track of their progress, and 23% report forgetting about them. Make sure your resolution is “SMART” or Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timely. Choose a resolution that you can keep track of and can be achieved within a year. Make sure it’s something that you remember, too. Write it down on a piece of paper and tape it to your mirror or keep it in your wallet. Use direct “I” statements when talking about your resolution: instead of “I want to meditate more,” say “I want to meditate daily,” even if it’s not 100 percent true. 4. Break it up.

It’s been proven that long term goals and resolutions are more likely to be achieved when they are made into short-term, easier goals that supplement a larger, harder goal. If your goal is “be more creative,” devote a month or two to a specific activity. Set your goal to be “practice drawing every week for a month” and then next month, try painting or photography. By shortening the time of the goal into multiple smaller goals, it will make you feel like you have achieved more, and you will feel more rewarded as you progress. 5. Stay positive.

Lastly, stay positive about your goal. If you find that dragging yourself to the gym is negatively influencing your day, maybe it’s a good idea to throw in the towel. Studies show that those who make New Year’s resolution are over ten times more likely to follow through with them than those who try to make changes any other times in the year. You’ve totally got this!