By Laura LaVacca
It’s that time of year again…the time to make New Year’s resolutions. The time to debate what you will change in yourself for next year and for some, the time to debate just what month you will break them.
“I usually quit after two months,” Nassau Community College student Kathia Hernandez states. “It’s hard.”
“I try to stay on task but I sometimes push it off from time to time,” Liberal Arts major James Vail notes.
But why is it so hard? Students may find trouble with just how to create goals and stick to them. Some may be unrealistic or too impossible to actually accomplish in a year.
“My friends make New Year’s resolutions, but some are too far- fetched,” Nassau Community College student, Kim R. states, “Like ‘win lotto,’ and others are generic like ‘lose weight.’”
Students may need to stop thinking of New Year’s resolutions as broken promises but rather think of them merely as goals to set. New Year’s resolutions have taken on a negative connotation because people feel pressure to change something in themselves and guilt when they do not see it through the whole year. New Year’s resolutions can be created any time since they are merely goals. January 1st doesn’t mean it’s the only time for change.
Psychologist Allison Azus explains the reasons why New Year’s resolutions may not stick and the importance of goal-setting.
There are ways to set yourself up for success, psychologist Azus explains, “You are most likely to achieve goals that you set if they are specific. For example, ‘I will lose 20 pounds,’ versus ‘I want to lose weight.’” Goals should be detailed enough and not general, so students can keep their eye on the prize.
Other tips Azuz advises is to make sure that the goal is “moderately difficult to achieve, not too easy or near impossible, and make sure it is measurable.” Goals don’t have to be so large that they seem daunting or unmanageable. Consider creating two to five smaller goals that help you achieve a larger one. Achieving any goal, no matter how big or small, is still a positive.
Food and beverage management major, Briana Schneider, recognizes the need for just that, “People shouldn’t set their goals to something unrealistic…I have seen many people do this!”
She continues, “Resolutions help with my goal setting because from that one resolution I make I create smaller goals so I can achieve what I want throughout the year.”
Azuz advises setting up a “feedback system that will allow you to track your progress throughout your journey.” This is arguably often the part of the goal setting process that is forgotten. “This feedback will provide needed reinforcement towards your specific goal,” Azuz continues.
Nassau Community College student Aura Yanes likes to do just that, so she can note her accomplishments, “I like to write down what I would like to do and change this year so that later on I can see if I did what was on my list.”
It’s not enough to just set the goal but to track your journey throughout. Gain insight into why things work for you and what does not. Ask yourself why you failed? What didn’t work? How can I learn from this? And remember…failure isn’t always a bad thing.
“It’s a learning process,” guidance counselor Lisa Demarco notes. “Failures are part of it all. If you don’t have them, then how do you grow as a person?”
In other words, keep resolutions short, simple, to the point, and if you feel like quitting, it’s okay— just make sure to get up and try it again.