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New Year, New You?

Posted by Hailey Umbaugh on Tue, Jan 12, 2016 @ 16:01 PM

For many, the dawn of the New Year shines with a bright and hopeful light. The New Year is time to herald in the new beginnings, new challenges, and new hopes, while kicking yesteryear’s bummers to the curb (and don’t cha come back no more, no more).


And as usual, the beginning of a New Year also is accompanied by the creation of New Year’s resolutions. According to the article, “Why We Don’t Keep Our New Year’s Resolutions” about 50% of us attempt some kind of resolution; the most popular being to lose weight, exercise more, quit smoking and to get better control of our finances.
Someone might question then, if resolutions are so popular (especially those listed above), why do so many people fail to keep their resolutions? Here is what I gathered from the article:
  • We aren’t ready to change. It’s New Year’s Eve. Inspired by the evening’s rosy glow of promise and excitement, you have told everyone who cares to listen (and even a few who don’t) about your New Year’s Resolution, and how you are going to make big changes in your life (starting tomorrow, of course). Full of hope you watch the ball drop, exchange some celebratory smooches with your fellow partygoers and finally find your way to your bed in the early hours of the morning. However once you wake up, the dewy (and potentially impulsive) promise of change you made last night sounds less than appealing…Maybe next year?
  • We get sucked into the “False Hope Syndrome.” As a culture, we tend to want things on demand. We have little time and (generally) even less patience. This deficiency can affect how realistic our resolutions are. Now, I’m not saying that every resolution that we have ever or will ever conceive will fall into this category, but some of the resolutions we make tend to look better on paper. Making a resolution to work out five hours a day like the pros while trying to balance other life demands like work, school, relationships and the human need to goof off once in a while? To move to a new state in two weeks? To lose 70 pounds in two months? For your sake, health and sanity, you might want to revisit the drawing board.
  • We meet our resolution…and still aren’t happy. This idea can be counterintuitive to what we usually think when we imagine conquering our resolutions. So your New Year’s resolution was to lose 40 pounds in 4 months, and you did it. Congratulations! Most likely, you are on your way to a healthier body and lifestyle. And yet…you are still left wanting. You thought by now you would be more confident and that your personal, social and work life would whip themselves into shape just like you have…but nothing has changed. This feeling of dissatisfaction can be harmful, especially to our motivation to keep making progress. When making resolutions, make sure to address the core of the issues you want to change. Is it really the weight that is bothering you, or is it just a cover for something else (a lousy job, unsatisfying major, etc.)? Be honest with yourself.
  • We are too specific. Many of you probably read this header and asked yourself, “What does that even mean?” This idea can be hard to wrap your head around, as we are often pushed in many facets of our life (in classes, at work, when giving directions, etc.) to be as specific as possible. Yet, when we are too strict in how much of something we want, or how long we have until we reach that want, we often open ourselves up to things like cheating or inflexibility. So when crafting your goal, try to think more broadly, such as focusing on an area of your life instead of a specific part of that area.
Now, I don’t want you walking away from this post thinking, “Well, that’s it, my resolution is doomed from the start!” That is definitely not my intention. These are just some factors to consider when trying to make a change in this New Year, as it can be tough to get/keep motivated (my list of uncompleted resolutions is a lot longer than my completed ones!). So go ahead, make a resolution of getting into college/grad school, getting good grades, attending more than one meeting of that interesting club (I should consider this...), etc. Just remember one of the most important features not mentioned above: don't give up!
What are my New Year’s resolutions, you may (or, more likely, not) be wondering? I am resolving to try something new. And I’m already starting to work on that, as I have never had or been part of a blog before (first post down! Not too bad, I hope?). Good luck to all of you who are also working on your resolutions! You can do it!
Hope and Happiness,

Photo Credit: GretchenRubin.com

Topics: Psychology, New Year's Resolutions, Hailey Umbaugh

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On this blog, current students write about everyday life on the campus of Saint Vincent College, a private, liberal arts college located in Latrobe, Pennsylvania.


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About the Authors

Michael Brinker

Michael Brinker, junior communication major, currently in Orlando, working with the Disney College Program.

Amanda MacMurtrie

Amanda MacMurtrie transferred to Saint Vincent as a sophomore studying English with a minor in Theology. Transferring to a new school is not the easiest thing in the world, but she is steadily finding a home on this beautiful Benedictine campus. Between enjoying life in community, balancing books for fun and books for class, and finding little corners of beauty, Amanda is discovering a few joys of life at Saint Vincent College.

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