Keeping New Year’s resolutions

Published 10:28 pm Tuesday, January 14, 2020

By Nathan Rice

We are midway through the first month of the year, and many of us are still working hard to keep the New Year’s resolutions we made at the end of 2019. Stepping into any gym in January will show you that many people start strong with their New Year’s resolutions, but we know that only a small percentage of New Year’s resolutions are kept throughout the year.

The changing of a calendar motivates many people to tackle things they want to achieve. This has caused New Year’s resolutions to be embedded in our culture. Some people say New Year’s resolutions are foolish since they are rarely kept, but I hesitate to call any attempt to improve oneself foolish.

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Why don’t we change how we make New Year’s resolutions instead of writing them off as foolish or unobtainable? Let’s start by considering the resolutions we’re still trying to keep or, perhaps, have already failed in keeping.

The first thing we should do is examine our resolutions. Let’s start by asking ourselves if the resolution is reasonable. Too often, we aim so high that reaching our goal is nearly impossible. This leads to frustration, and this frustration causes us to abandon our goal altogether. Perhaps we shouldn’t declare that we’ll never eat chocolate again or that we’ll go to the gym every day for all of 2020. Maybe cleaning every inch of the house in January isn’t realistic. Our New Year’s resolutions should be things that we can obtain.

We should also ask ourselves if we are truly committed to the resolution we are making or if the resolution is simply a dream. We tend to hype ourselves up when we make resolutions by looking at the end goal, but we seldom count the cost of reaching the goal. When making resolutions, we should look at the cost instead of just the desired result. This will allow us to consider if we are willing and able to do what it takes to reach our goals.

We should also examine the reason behind our resolutions. We often make resolutions, setting goals for ourselves, but we lose track of the reason the goal is important to us. Why do you want to lose weight? Why is being more organized important? We are more likely to push through the times when we struggle with our resolutions if we know and focus on the reason behind our goals. “I want to lose weight, so I feel better and can be more active with my family.” “I want to be more organized so I can spend more time with the people I love.” “I want to handle my money better so I can retire in 10 years.” Keeping focused on the reason behind the resolution is more motivational than simply looking at a goal.

Improving oneself is never easy. Stopping bad habits is hard, and starting positive behaviors is difficult. Changing for the better is not easy simply because the change started on Jan. 1. Do not give up on improving, but be sure you’re aware of the cost, willing to do what it takes and make sure you keep your eyes on the reason behind your resolution.

Nathan Rice is a Hampton Roads native and can be reached at