A popular way to stay motivated is to leave sticky notes
of the resolutions around to stay inspired, according
to most experts. Photo by Victoria Shieler
By Victoria Shieler
Every year, many people think, “A new year, a new me!” New year’s resolutions pertaining to health, education, money, or relationships abound are common areas of improvement.
But once the New Year starts, people return to reality and resolutions are often lost, forgotten, or simply fail.
“I’ve missed the mark on several occasions,” said Ashley Ferguson, a 21-year-old graphic design student. “But it comes with the territory. I think you have to be humbled enough times by failure to genuinely appreciate any kind of success.”
Like Ferguson, when it comes to starting off a new semester, many students have several goals and plans to make the upcoming semester as successful as possible.
“Most of my goals remain pretty constant between semesters because they’re associated with things I feel I can always improve upon like managing my time and being more productive,” Ferguson said. “One thing that’s a little bit different this semester is that I’m trying to remain focused on the present.”
Ferguson is just one of the millions of college students struggling to keep up with their new year’s resolutions for each semester. Since community college students typically have to balance school, work, and their personal life, achieving goals can easily be lost in the mix of the chaos.
Although New Year’s resolutions are very common among Americans, it is common for many to quit just after a few weeks because of a lack of desire and ambition.
According to a study conducted by the Clinical Psychology department of the University of Scranton, “45 percent of Americans make New Year’s resolutions but only 8 percent are actually successful in achieving their resolution.”
Although the statistic may be intimidating and shocking, there are many potential distractions that one forgets when creating a resolution.
“We often choose what we impulsively want over what we should choose given our long-term goals and interests,” said Francesca Gino, an associate professor of business administration at Harvard Business School.
“We tend to overestimate our ability to make good decisions when under pressure,” said Betterment, a corporation that assists students in achieving financial goals for the future. Another obstacle students face when reaching their goals is, “Human willpower is not a constant personality trait and fluctuates throughout the day,” according to Betterment.
“If you resist something a number of times, the desire to have it grows stronger.”
Just like any other goal, whether it is for the New Year or just a life change, it is essential to not just focus on the end goal but to create mini goals or stepping stones that help make the goal more realistic to attain, experts say.
“People who explicitly make resolutions are 10 times more likely to attain their goals than people who don’t,” Betterment reported. “Setting specific goals increases the likelihood of success than keeping your goals vague.”
According to experts, if one is serious about a goal, he or she should make a plan, be realistic and don’t expect perfection every day.
One should also create an inspiration board filled with photos, quotes and other types of motivation.
Today Ferguson continues to make new resolutions and tries to challenge herself each semester.
“In past semesters, I’ve found myself worrying too much about things like whether my course load is heavy enough or if I’ll finish my program in X amount of time,” Ferguson said. “While it’s great to care about what you’ll be doing in the near or even distant future, it shouldn’t interfere with where you’re at right now. I’m becoming more comfortable with doing what works best for me.”
Ferguson gave advice to students who are struggling to keep up with their current or future resolutions.
“Remember that change takes time and setbacks are part of the process,” Ferguson said. “I think too often we give up on a goal because we’re overly invested in the end result. When I find that I’m having unrealistic expectations of myself, I remember the things I’ve already accomplished and how much work it took me to get there.”