The independent student news publication at Kansas State University

Kansas State Collegian

Kansas State Collegian

The independent student news publication at Kansas State University

Kansas State Collegian

New Year’s resolutions: Why we fail and how to succeed

Keeping a resolution doesn’t need to be difficult; we just need to be more specific with planning

The new year brings new things, like goals for a renewed self. However, we often fall short of our goals after the initial momentum fades. Why does this happen?

According to an article by rehabilitation specialist and author Kendra Cherry, we are in what researchers call the “fresh start effect” when the ball drops. As we celebrate, we feel energized to change, but when we make ambiguous vows to go to the gym, be more positive or stop smoking, we set ourselves up for disappointment. While we clink our glasses, we don’t write specific details for our goals.

According to Cherry, we struggle because we focus on “avoidance-oriented goals.” We try to stop our bad habits without replacing them with better ones. We vow to stop smoking without considering alternatives, such as walking or spending time with friends. Another example is vowing to go to the gym for an hour every day, which often is not feasible in our busy lives.

The good news is we can achieve our resolutions by adopting “approach-oriented goals,” where we make specific, gradual changes by writing down and planning each one. Instead of being ambiguous, we can focus on clear-cut tasks such as “go to the gym once this week” or “smoke only twice this week.”

By breaking down our bad habits into manageable pieces, we can develop new habits and break old ones. Therefore, instead of focusing on quick changes at the beginning of the year, we should consider a new version of ourselves by the end of the year. By following these simple steps, we can successfully achieve our New Year’s resolutions.

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