New Year, New Me: Keeping New Year Resolutions past January

While only eight percent of those who make New Year’s resolutions are successful, resolutions have stood the test of time in society as something to consider with the beginning of the new year. 

“I think New Year’s resolutions are popular because they are soft goals,” said Matt Gilham, a senior majoring in economics. “Few people really expect to succeed at them, so more people make them knowing they’re not really expected to achieve their resolutions.”

Gilham’s beliefs fall in line with the mass migration of students to the Rec Center during the first few weeks of January and then a steady decrease in attendance as the year goes on. But some students believe that their resolutions keep them focused on their goals throughout the year.

Abby Evans, a freshman on the pre-med track, spent her Christmas break reflecting on the past semester in order to manage her time better and stay motivated throughout the spring semester. 

“I think New Year’s resolutions are a great opportunity to reevaluate your life and reflect on the past year so that you can improve in areas that will better you as a person,” Evans said. 

Evans finds motivation from an art piece she made over winter break for her dorm room to remind her of her resolutions and keep her mind focused on how beneficial sticking to them will be. Evans believes that having a visual reminder is important to not lose sight of the goals you set for yourself.

Bailey Swiggett, a junior majoring in public relations and general business, agreed that resolutions are important and believes people would be more successful with their resolutions if they would change their mindset on them.

“I always see ‘New year, new you’ everywhere when the new year starts, but I wouldn’t say that,” Swiggett said. “Instead I think resolutions should be focused on a better you, not a ‘new’ you. It’s an opportunity to focus on specific pursuits and either accomplish or work toward them.”

Evans and Swiggett both emphasize realistic resolution making and are choosing to focus on small but important changes in their lives for 2016.

“I plan to limit my Netflix watching to one episode a day,” Evans said. “I want to use that extra time wisely, to catch up on schoolwork, with friends, or at the gym.” 

New Year’s resolutions are centered around self-improvement and a study shows that the most common resolution has to do with weight loss and becoming healthier. Swiggett is an instructor at Pure Barre Tuscaloosa and has enjoyed getting to meet new clients who are focusing on health this year. 

“I believe incorporating fitness into your life results in living a happier lifestyle so I think that January first is a great kick-start for some people to begin such an important resolution,” Swiggett said. “I know some people tend to hit the gym on New Year’s Day and slack off as the year goes on but the key to continuing a fitness routine and lifestyle is to find something you enjoy and stick to it. Pure Barre for example has that motivational atmosphere and support, and it’s super fun, which are all keys to finding the right workout and endurance throughout the year.”

Gilham said he sees how new year’s resolutions can be beneficial for fostering self-awareness, but he prefers to set goals for a month or semester at a time.

“I periodically write down things about myself that I want to improve on to become the person I want to be,” Gilham said. “Goals like ‘reading more’ become less about struggling to get through a set number of books and more about small steps to become someone who challenges himself regularly on an intellectual level.”

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