On January 1st, people around the world are going to promise some things they are either unable to keep or have no intention of committing themselves to in the New Year. They’ll say that this is the year they’ll drop that extra unwanted body weight; or that they’ll learn a new language; or that they’ll make themselves a better person.
Of course, we’re talking about the infamous New Year’s Resolutions. According to Statisticbrain.com, 45 per cent of Americans will make a New Year’s resolution on any given year. How many are successful in seeing it through?
Just eight per cent.
Most people have heard these numbers though, so it’s borderline ironic why, every year, society plunges itself into promises they’ll never keep. To start, it’s most likely because 2017, or any New Year, represents a new beginning in a very formal way. You are literally turning over a new page and starting an entirely new calendar so it can feel gratifying and encouraging that you are in fact starting something new.
To this, there is nothing wrong with. Wanting to start over new and work on yourself — 47 per cent of all New Year’s resolutions deal with self-improvement — is an admirable goal to strive towards. The problem exists in that people think you have to wait until January 1st to work on yourself. Really, January 1st is just another day. It’s a date on a calendar and the fact of the matter is you can choose any which date you want. You could start tomorrow. You could start today.
If your goal is to lose weight in 2017, as it will be for millions of people, does that give you an excuse to take care of your body poorly over the holiday season, putting you further away from your promise? If you want to be more respectful to the people around you, does that give you the right to be rude until the calendar tells you it’s January 1st?
You can see how the process becomes quickly obsolete.
But if you do want to make a promise, regardless of the day, there are some simple things to overcome to become one of the very few in that eight per cent category who achieve their goal. One of the most obvious ones is this all-or-nothing mentality whereby, for example, people push off starting their diet because they had one bad night of eating so they decide to start next week. Self-improvement and almost any other goal is not a linear process where you connect the dots along a straight line to your goal. Oftentimes there are road blocks, bad days, and slip-ups. No one is perfect and expecting yourself to be will only set yourself up for failure without the possibility of following through on your word.
Instead, try your best every day to work towards that goal. Maybe you won’t ever lose that exact 15 pounds in four months like you wanted to. But you’ll be a lot better off than those who gave up.
Eric Elliott is a reporter for the Invermere Valley Echo and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.