Pesky new year’s resolutions come back to haunt you

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Posted Wednesday, January 18, 2012 - 6:32pm

Ah January, a time of snow and cold, where everyone is beginning to recover from the hangover that was Thanksgiving and Christmas. The Monday of months one could call it. In fact, it seems the only positive thing people have to say about January, at least at USU Eastern, is how grateful they are there isn’t an obscene amount of snow on the ground. One could almost go about believing it was any other month. In fact, most people probably would, if it weren’t for the pesky thought buzzing in the back their head about a New Year’s Resolution.

If you’re part of the 48 percent of Americans who actually bothered to make a resolution, then chances are slim that you won’t make it through June, let alone the full year. Whether the resolution is to lose weight, get a girlfriend, stop a self-destructive habit, or simply survive the upcoming zombie apocalypse you’re fighting a losing battle. In a poll done by Time Magazine it was found that a quarter of would-be revolutionists fails or give up within the first week. At the end of the month the survival rate drops to 64 percent and June comes up with a scanty 46 percent.

In November, panic enters into people’s eyes as they realize they have failed to make progress towards their goal. Widespread calamity ensues as the nation begins a hasty regime of diet pills and Schwarzenegger like training in effort to make up for lost time. Come December, the finish line is visited by a frail and withering 10 percent of those who were able to stick with their goal the whole year through, as well as countless others who huff passed, corn dog in one hand and diet pills in another, clamoring for recognition of their failed accomplishment.

Now, I’ve never been good at making my New Year’s fantasies become a reality. Personally, I would like to think that my failures to become a Power Ranger, perform a proper Kamehameha wave, and stop procrastinating are simply goals that take longer than a year to achieve. But to get back to the point, there are three ways why this year you will be one of the success stories that all your friends want to be.

1-Be purposely unclear in your goal.

Let’s take one of the most well-known resolutions, to eat healthier. You probably realize that you binge ate candy and junk food like Augustus Gloop in Willy Wanka’s Chocolate Factory over the holidays. So your natural reaction is a clean break. Get rid of all the sweets around you; forgo desserts, run away from the candy section in the store. You make it a day before realizing that your stomach has to have SOMETHING in it, so you buy healthy, celery and apples everywhere you look. This lasts a week before you decide you’re allergic to the stuff and never want to see another bit of it again. Congratulations, you went a full eight days without sugar in your diet. I’m sure that you never did that last year. Goal accomplished, time to go back to your normal diet and enjoy the rest of your year. You earned it.

2-Plan for failure, or failing that, mediocrity.

Pick a goal that is so unreasonable that you can’t help but fail. For example, you could make the goal of meeting Steve Jobs, creating a brand new political theory that revolutionizes America, or even just getting an “A” in Calculus. You made these resolutions under the impression that they were all feasibly possible, and now that you know otherwise can you really hold it against yourself for failing? If you aim for something that actually is possible then don’t bother with something well thought out and planned. Just jump on something that all of your friends are doing as well. Chances are their motivation will peter out and you won’t have any responsibility for the projects failure. If they do succeed then bravo, you did as well.

3-Tell everyone you can about personal goals.

You know that happy feeling you get whenever you reach a major accomplishment and you just want to tell everyone about it? Don’t you wish you could have that all the time? Well now you can, it’s a simple two step process that works for everyone with little to no work.

First, choose a goal that will make you stretch, one that you actually want to achieve and feel is realistic and unique. Now that you’ve decided on this goal, start telling everyone you can about it. Think of the most obscure people that you can and include them in on it. That creepy guy in the back of all your classes? Yeah, he thinks you’re pretty cool for wanting to be nicer and socialize with everyone you see. That cute girl you’ve had a crush on for a while? She thinks it’s awesome that you want to grow out your hair and donate it to kids who have cancer. Your smart intellectual friends? They think it’s great that you’ve decided to buckle down and get all A’s this semester.

Step three: sit back and do nothing at all about your goal. Wow, feel that? That’s the sense of gratification without any work whatsoever. Studies have actually proven that telling others about a goal without allowing them a way to keep you responsible actually decreases the likelihood of you following through. So not only do you feel awesome, but you did so with no work and while improving yourself socially. There’s one resolution well accomplished.

Now assuming a few of you actually want to earn that success as opposed to simply faking your success here are a few suggestions.

1-Be specific and reasonable. Set a goal that you will want to work on for an entire year, not something that you feel pressured into or that you can barely stand to do for a single day

2-Remind yourself: Write it down and put it in a place where you can see it every day and remember what you want to change and why

3-Allow for breaks: Don’t set your goal as going to the gym every day, doing so will only burn you out and make you miserable.

4- Keep yourself responsible, rewards for success and a lack of them otherwise

5-Don’t give up! Get back on that horse if you fall off and don’t let it hold you back.

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