New Year’s “Not So” Resolutions


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Happy New Year! Will you stick to your resolution this year?

Jackie Vaks, Reporter

Have you ever made a New Year’s Resolution? Whether it was for a healthier lifestyle, or to learn a new language, everyone has goals they want to achieve in the new year. Unfortunately, most of the time these resolutions do not stick. For example, the first week of January is full of packed gyms, and yet 3 weeks later, it’s back to typical capacity. The universal feeling of not being able to stick to the commitment you made yourself is disappointing but completely normal. 

4000 years ago, the Babylonians promised their gods that at the beginning of each year, they would return their borrowed items and pay off their debt. The Romans began each year with a promise to the god Janus, whose name was January. In the Middle Ages, knights took the annual “peacock oath” at the end of the Christmas season to reaffirm their attachment to chivalry. During vigils, many Christians would prepare for the coming year by praying and making these resolutions.

This tradition has many other religious similarities. During the Judaic New Year, Rosh Hashanah, and Yom Kippur (day of atonement), a person should reflect on his wrongdoings during the year and both seek and beg for forgiveness. People act in a similar way during Christian Lent, although the motive behind this holiday is sacrifice rather than responsibility. The practice of resolutions in the New Year comes in part from the Lenten sacrifices. The concept, regardless of belief, is to think about improving yourself every year.

Despite the tradition’s religious roots, making New Year’s resolutions is a very known practice. Instead of making promises to the gods, most people just make their own decisions and focus only on improving themselves (which may explain why these decisions seem so difficult to follow). Recent research from states that usually, 45% of Americans make New Year’s resolutions, while only 8% of Americans truly achieve their goals. 

According to ComRes Global  Polls, these are the most common New Year’s resolutions in order of popularity. 

  1. Exercise more (38 percent).
  2. Lose weight (33 percent).
  3. Eat more healthily (32 percent).
  4. Take a more active approach to health (15 percent).
  5. Learn a new skill or hobby (15 percent).
  6. Spend more time on personal wellbeing (12 percent).
  7. Spend more time with family and friends (12 percent).
  8. Drink less alcohol (12 percent).
  9. Stop smoking (9 percent).
  10. Other (1 percent).

One of the biggest reasons people aren’t able to keep their New Year’s resolutions is because of how broad they are. Having a specific resolution will help lead you towards a smaller goal, which eventually will lead you towards your bigger goals. For example, instead of your goal being to “lose weight”, set a certain weight goal you want to achieve in a realistic amount of time. Losing the weight will now be accomplished by the end date, and will make you more committed to the resolution. 

At the end of the day, the resolutions you make have to make you happy! Don’t make goals to accommodate your friends and family. People are so influenced by society to act and look a certain way, which has a huge impact on the success rate of these resolutions. Do whatever is best for yourself only, and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.