[Opinion] New Year’s resolutions promote unrealistic behavior

Sofia Schorer Kaplan, Assistant managing editor

When the ball drops each Dec. 31 and the year changes, goals and ideals are set forth for the new year. As mundane as this activity seems, it is unrealistic to think these goals and expectations will be met.

In theory, it is a beautiful concept to better yourself as the page of a new year unfolds, but realistically it does not work. Motivation slips and, if you are lucky, the goal in mind will be kept until the end of January.

In a 2016 study conducted anonymously, only 9 percent of the 41 percent of Americans that make New Year’s resolutions feel successful in completing them.

Most resolutions include something along the lines of prioritizing exercise, losing weight or drinking less alcohol. While it is possible to accomplish these goals, most people are not willing to compromise their routines or comfort for these goals, as they don’t believe they are worthwhile.

Different regions in the United States prioritize different goals for the new year. Losing weight is prioritized most by the Midwest and frequent exercise is prioritized most by the West Coast.

While setting New Year’s resolutions is well-intentioned, it is negative to believe you should correct your faults or improve upon your bad habits only when a new year comes. People should constantly be improving upon themselves, not just when a new year comes.

However, what is most unrealistic about New Year’s resolutions is the quantity people set their standards to. People overwhelm themselves with an absurd amount of resolutions that they will not be able to keep.

People are more likely to achieve a goal if they set their resolutions as small and measurable goals as opposed to something vague. For example, it is easier to “read chapters 1-6 in a week” as opposed to “read more.”

More and more people are realizing the ridicule surrounding New Year’s resolutions, which is why less and less individuals are making their annual resolutions. In 2019, 57 percent of people surveyed randomly chose not to set New Year resolutions.

Not setting New Year’s resolutions is one crucial way to break the toxic annual cycle of setting and failing intended goals. Instead of implementing large amounts of unrealistic goals, people should focus on daily and constant personal improvement.