By: Anshuta Beeram
Many people set New Year’s resolutions hoping to start off the year on a positive note and improve themselves. Yet, studies show that eighty percent of people have given up on their resolutions by February. Is there a way to follow through with resolutions?
According to an article published on Business Insider, the biggest reasons as to why resolutions fail are that the goals aren't specific or personal enough. Learning how to set proper goals, follow through with them, and remain motivated is a necessity.
When a person’s goal is too vague, they won’t have a plan to follow and milestones to reach. If someone says they want to lose weight but doesn’t specify how they are going to do it or how much weight they want to lose, the goal will be harder to achieve. Personal goals are more likely to be successful as well because when the goal is important to a person, they will have a desire to accomplish it.
In order to set a successful goal, one needs to make sure it is specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound. Specific goals are clearly defined and have an action plan. For example, instead of “I want to learn Korean” one should say “I want to be able to speak basic Korean, and in order to do so I will spend thirty minutes on Duolingo every day.” The second goal is more tangible than the first one.
Measurable goals are trackable. Charlene Magbulos, Glenelg student, said she wanted to be more productive in 2020. Magbulos laid out a plan for herself, and measured her productivity by writing in her journal and keeping track of her time.
It’s important to set attainable goals as well. Keeping things realistic will ensure that one won’t bite off more than they can chew. For example, if someone’s goal is: “I want to go from couch-potato to Varsity football quarterback in a month,” it may be better if he keeps things realistic with himself and revises the goal to: “I want to be on the Varsity football team in my Senior year and in order to do so, I will start working out and try out for the junior varsity team.” This goal is more realistic and has a defined, measurable plan.
Making sure that the goal is relevant is probably the most important thing. David Liu, a sophomore, says, “I don’t set goals to just say that I set a new year’s resolution. I set goals because I want to get better at something.” The goal must be important to a person, otherwise they will have no motivation or lose motivation quickly. That being said, don’t hold back for the fear that a goal won’t be accomplished. It’s important to try different things and setting irrelevant goals can sometimes be beneficial.
The last component of a good goal is that it’s time-bound. When a time limit is enforced, a person feels more productive and focused. It’s important to make sure that the time constraints are reasonable as well. For example, saying: “I want to learn how to paint beautiful kangaroos by the end of this month,” is better than “I want to learn how to paint kangaroos by the end of this year.” It’ll probably not take a year to learn how to paint a kangaroo, so the first goal is better because the painter will feel more focused knowing that a deadline is coming up.
Now that a good goal has been set, the next step is to create an action plan. Plans will vary depending on what the goal and the work ethic of a person are like, but it’s important to make sure the plan is realistic and measurable. Plans can range from brief to-do lists to in-depth daily routines. What’s important is sticking to them.
Unfortunately, even the best goal can go unfulfilled if the goal setter runs out of motivation. It happens to everyone but some people can pull themselves together and push forward. How do they do it?
Motivation is a key factor when it comes to sticking to a goal and following through with it. Liu, says, “If you have a goal you should always find motivation and remember why you want to achieve it. Because if you don’t have a good reason, you usually won’t set yourself fully towards that.” When setting a goal, it’s important to identify a good motivator that will help in sticking with the goal when it’s hard to.
Making sure that the goal is personal and relevant is not the only factor. Mindset is also important. It’s hard to be motivated to do everything that one wants to, so keep in mind that the way a problem is approached will have a huge impact on the results.
Glenelg student, Avni Kaushik, says, “A positive growth mindset pushes one further and makes them more inclined to achieve their desires but with negative mindsets, they hinder growth because they blind the good and when one can’t see the good, the goal loses its purpose and it just goes downhill.” When a person’s energy has run out, they have a decision to make. They can give up and surrender to negative thoughts or keep on persevering even when they feel like giving up.
A good way to stay motivated is logging progress by writing it down in a journal. One can also inform family and friends about the goal so that they can help motivate. Magbulos says, “There were days in which these goals were hard for me, but I have amazing friends and family who encourage me to persevere.” Sometimes it can be hard to keep a positive mindset, and when that is the case, it’s beneficial to have a support system that will help in sticking with a goal.
Occasionally, a great goal, a great plan, a great support system, and a great motivator are still not enough to accomplish a goal. When this is the case, it’s important to accept failure and not be discouraged. Failure is sometimes more beneficial than success because it teaches one how to be stronger and how to pick himself or herself up again and keep going. Kaushik says not accomplishing her resolutions is something that was beneficial to her in the long run: “It was a learning experience and I’m grateful for realizing that my life is in my hands and my mindset is also in my hands.” The truth is, what matters is not whether an endeavor was successful or not, but rather how attempting to do it changed a person.
With the future being so uncertain, it’s important to take charge of what is around and make the best of it. This can be done by setting a resolution, following through with it-or giving it good effort-, and realizing that the way that the events which a person has to deal with are handled is up to the person. Set a resolution, making sure to follow this guide, and reap the benefits.