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Keeping New Year’s Resolutions

“It is never too late to be what you might have been.”
– George Eliot

Happy New Year! I hope that you and your family had a pleasant and relaxing holiday.

We are two weeks into 2023. For many people, that means they are two weeks into their New Year’s resolutions; for some people, that means they have already broken their resolutions.

My New Year’s resolution is to watch more television. I’m tired of people talking about shows and not knowing anything about them. I’m not very good at beginning to watch a tv series, and I’m even worse at staying with them. Seems like a valuable and achievable resolution.

The Babylonians started the resolution trend, and 4000 years later almost 40% of people set New Year’s resolutions. Of those who set a New Year’s resolution, 23% quit by January 7. Over half of resolution makers quit by the second Friday of January. In fact, Strava (a fitness app) has dubbed the second Friday of January as “Quitter’s Day”. That’s today! If you are still doing your resolution tomorrow, you are doing better than most people–well done! 43% of people expect to quit their resolution by February, and 65% actually do. A paltry 9% of people keep their resolutions.

There are many reasons why people do not keep their resolutions. Most resolutions have to do with being healthier (e.g. exercising more and eating healthier). The holiday season seems like a tough time to set such a resolution. It’s not uncommon for people to “live it up” through the holidays with the promise that on January 1 they will suddenly be healthier: that’s a promise that is destined to be broken.

Living healthier is definitely a worthy goal—a lot better than watching more tv. Even though New Year’s resolutions are not usually successful, there are many strategies that can help set and keep worthy goals.

The New York Times published the article How to Make (and Keep) a New Year’s Resolution, which provides guidance for successful resolutions. Interestingly, the key factors are the same as in academic goals: successful resolutions are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound.

National Public Radio (NPR) published a nifty planner for setting and keeping resolutions (Resolution Planner) with links to articles on how to successfully do pretty much anything you can think of.

There is debate about whether you should tell someone about your resolutions, or goals in general. Some research says that by telling someone, especially a mentor, you will feel held accountable and will be more likely to succeed. Other researchers have found that if you tell someone about a goal you might get praise for setting a goal, feel better, and then ditch the goal.

Resolutions are generally something that adults do, but I was curious about kids’ resolutions, so I asked around.

From MS/HS students:

  • “Wake up earlier”
  • “Study more”
  • “Read more”
  • “Workout”
  • “Diet”

From younger ES students:

  • “Give Dr. Fries a mohawk and a mullet”
  • “Have one day of just fun at school”
  • “Earn another stripe in jiu jitsu”
  • “Do gymnastics”
  • “Get a pool at school”
  • “Be a babysitter”
  • “Be the principal”
  • “My brother and sister will always listen to me”
  • “Never have to clean my room”
  • “Drive a motorcycle”

Whatever your goals are, I wish you success in achieving them.

I also wish you the very best for 2023!

“May all of your troubles last as long as your New Year’s resolutions”
– Joey Adams

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