New Year’s resolutions encourage self-improvement, elicits pressure

Elisabeth Siegel

Life Editor

Eat healthier. Spend more time with family. Lower screen time. These statements are a few of the many resolutions adults and teens make for the New Year. According to Forbes, studies have shown that 25 percent of people actually stay committed to their resolutions after just 30 days, and only eight percent accomplish them. And according to a Feb. 7 poll of 145 students, 15 percent of students who had resolutions last year succeeded in following through with them.

               Many students firmly believe that annually refreshing their lifestyles will allow growth toward a better version of themselves. For junior Bridget Wang, time management and sleep are her top priorities for the new year.

“Resolutions just keep my year on track,” Wang said. “Even from the start if it derails a bit, I still know that I have those goals. Going after it and achieving it during the year is gratifying.”

While resolutions are popular, with about a quarter of Americans making them according to YouGovAmerica, not everyone follows this path. Some choose alternatives like creating a bucket list or making a vision board for the year. For example, third grade teacher Elizabeth Bentrup has jumped on the “word of the year” bandwagon. She picks a new word that acts as a post for her year.

“It often has to do with a general need or want in my life to incline a certain way,” Bentrup said. “For example, after a crazy 2021, ‘steady’ was the word I chose for 2022. ‘Simplify’ and ‘joy’ have been past words.”

Bentrup didn’t make any new year goals as a teen, unless it was required by school assignments. As an adult, her mindset has shifted, and she has recognized the importance of setting the tone for the year.

“Resolutions had a truly binary feel to them growing up: succeed or fail, can or can’t, and there was an implied good or bad to which ones you could or should choose,” Bentrup said. “[As a teenager], a ‘growth mindset’ wasn’t something we talked about. The work that we’ve done socioculturally around understanding how goals can be designed, monitored and adjusted, while also how the reflective practice throughout the process enriches the work, has come a long way.”

Though people have failed resolutions, including Wang, all is not lost. Many still believe that the act of creating the resolution can still prove beneficial. According to the wellness resource Alternative Daily, setting a resolution can help people reflect and figure out what has been working and what may need to be changed.

“Sometimes life gets busy and sometimes New Year’s resolutions aren’t exactly at the top of our priority list,” Wang said. “I think sometimes it can sort of get out of sight out of mind. But regardless, I think it’s just a good thing to have and it can still help your overall lifestyle for the new year.”

Yet many people have stopped putting pressure on themselves to improve themselves at the start of a fresh calendar. According to Finder, 26 percent of Americans aren’t making resolutions. Junior Camila Rivera stopped hopping on the “new year, new me” train partly due to discouragement from failing past goals.

“I don’t personally have [resolutions] because I think it can be draining whenever you don’t keep up with it,” junior Camila Rivera said. “If you lose it, then you lose the momentum that you had in the previous year. You want to go into it thinking that you can do it, but then you just get tired and overwhelmed.”

Though the usefulness of New Year’s resolutions is often under debate, most people can agree that self-improvement is an important journey to take even if you may fail. Growth is something that may take much persistence, no matter if it starts at the beginning of the year or not. While there are people who find new years to be fresh pages, you can make resolutions and time of the year.

“I think the resolutions themselves are less important than the required self-awareness to know what we need to be aiming for,” Bentrup said. “That self-awareness and then how we use that information to ignite purpose in our words and actions, whether that’s in resolutions or just a general sense of where we need to go next, is what’s important.”

Resolutions Round-up

It’s that time of the year again when many students’ motivation and ambitions are high, and many are setting goals to make 2022 a year of purpose. According to a Feb. 7 poll of 145 students, 41 percent of students made resolutions for the new year.

The most popular resolution of the results was related to physical activity. Many students are aiming to work out more, many for multiple hours a day. In order to carry through with this goal, one student wants to complete a 30-day yoga challenge. Another student intends to do a pushup for however many days have passed in 2022. For example, they will do one pushup on Jan. 1 and 365 pushups on Dec. 31. Adequate exercise and a healthy diet are both essential for sustaining healthy physical well-being. A fair amount of students are committing to eating better.

The second most popular resolution is work-related with many focusing on studying and advocating for their success. Some students are trying to maintain their grades, make all As or get college scholarships. Increasing productivity and sleep while decreasing procrastination is seen as a key factor for achieving these goals.

Others are encouraging themselves to prioritize mental health by expressing gratitude, living in the moment and “being happy” overall. Yet, some resolutions are not only individual. Many students are striving to reach out to their neighbors and make more friends.

Some other unique goals included reading two books a month, quitting nail-biting and learning more languages.

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