New year, same story

BY TASHA LUNNY

The clock strikes 12 a.m. and the new year has finally arrived. For millions of people across the planet this means a chance to change or improve their lives. We call these commitments “resolutions” but most people end up going back to their old ways.

Many people declared that 2014 would be a year vastly different from the last, yet most are setting the same resolutions that they failed to achieve time and time before.

People want to lose weight, quit smoking or get out of debt. On Dec. 31, they are eating their last slice of cake or enjoying their last inhale of a cigarette. New Year’s Day arrives and gym enrolments increase, people create financial budgets or buy the latest fad in nicotine replacement. Every year seems to be the same thing and every year we see the same results – failure.

The problem isn’t that people want to change and benefit themselves, it’s how hard they’re actually willing to work to try to make that change. According to Solutions to Resolution Dilution, an article published in 2004 on the American Psychology Association website, 60 per cent of resolution makers have already given up by June and only 19 per cent of people are still going strong after two years. Why is it that January sees the driven and happy faces of people aching to become better and by spring they are already throwing in the towel?

Nobody ever said making changes was easy but maybe a lot of people weren’t ready to make them in the first place. Most set huge, unrealistic goals that require big sacrifices and yet they aren’t emotionally and physically prepared to take on the dedication needed to reach it. Just wishing you were skinnier will never make you skinnier. Hard work, focus and time might.

The study also proved that the people who were most successful were the ones who took time to set up a system and strategize about how they were going to accomplish said goal. For example, people who want to save money wouldn’t just go ahead and try and spend less, they would set up a savings account, a budget and plan how much money is available for spending. The truth is major change takes commitment and preparation, not just willpower.

I give people credit for trying. You are 10 times more likely to make a change if you are setting a New Year’s resolution than just hoping it will magically occur.

Most goals are very difficult and it is human nature for us to give in when times get tough but it seems like resolutions are just becoming an excuse to say, “Well, I tried but it was too hard.”

For all the people who are already giving in to temptation, your 2014 resolution should be to start keeping your resolutions.

About Spoke

Spoke Online is produced weekly during the school year by Conestoga College second-year journalism print students, faculty adviser Christina Jonas and new media technologist Michael Toll.