Resolutions are a staple of New Year’s Eve. People gather around the table and reflect upon their past 12 months, on their successes, failures, highs and lows. And then they plan. One person chimes in that they want to eat healthy and lose 20 pounds, another wants to exercise more and go to the gym every day and another wants to learn a new language in the new year. They go around the table, adding more to their lists of things they want to accomplish in the next 365 days.
The next day, everyone upholds their goals. The man who wanted to eat healthier chooses the salad option at a restaurant. The woman who wanted to exercise spent her morning at the gym working up a sweat. The teenager who wants to learn French makes an account with a language learning website and completes three lessons a day.
Fast forward a few weeks, the man is back to stopping at McDonald’s on the way home, the woman’s gym bag has not moved in a week and the teenager has gone back to scrolling social media, swiping away notifications from their language learning app.
But why is this? Why is this such a trend, and how can you make New Year’s resolutions that will last?Dr.
Ana Gamez, professor of forensic psychology, says that New Year’s resolutions are so prominent because “some people may want to change and get that end-of-year inspiration to make some life adjustments to improve and do things a little differently.”
People see the new year as a new slate, a time when they can reinvent themselves into the person they always wanted to be. Because of this preconceived notion of “New Year, New Me,” many people fall into the trap of setting unrealistic expectations for themselves, often falling flat in the first week or so of the New Year.
“We live in a society of convenience, drive-throughs, everything quick and easy,” Gamez said. “It is easy to fall off the bandwagon because it is convenient.”
Victoria Tamayo, junior exercise science major and fitness lead at the Recreation Center, said that after the New Year, once school is back in session, “there are definitely more people who get motivated in the New Year to kickstart their fitness goals and resolutions.”
Tamayo attributes this influx of students at the Recreation Center to New Year’s resolutions and since it is right after the holidays, she believes that poor diets and inactivity over the break could influence people to have a healthy fresh start in the new year.
Many New Year’s resolutions are centered around health and becoming the best version of ourselves; often, these resolutions fall through the fastest.
Kyle Boyce, junior criminal justice major, criticized this trend of health-related New Year’s resolutions.
“We live in a society obsessed with comparison,” Boyce said. “I know plenty of people that go to the gym just to be the strongest, skinniest or fittest out of all their peers.”
Tamayo and Gamez have advice for those Lancers who are struggling with their New Year’s resolutions.
“Surrounding yourself with a good support system, have someone work out with you for accountability and participate in GX classes where you can build a fitness community,” Tamayo said, for those aiming to make fitness adjustments. “Pace yourself, go with friends and have fun.”
Gamez said that while she does not have many tips for keeping up with New Year’s resolutions, she still advises students to make one.
“Develop a plan, develop a routine. If you are going to the gym, write it on the calendar every week and have a set time. When you get there, what do you do? Make sure you carve out that time. Be intentional about what you do.”
The most important thing to remember is even if your New Year’s resolution has gone awry, that does not mean starting again is impossible. Give yourself some slack if you have not been consistent as you would have liked. Remember the reason made it, regroup and get back out there. It does not need to be the first of the year or even the first of the month to make a change. Lancers, make the change today. Do not start tomorrow, do not start next week, start today. You will be amazed at the difference you can make.