The new year comes with plenty of promise. No one can know for sure what it holds, but the potential it has is near limitless. Perhaps this is why resolutions for the new year is such a common practice among people. Maybe it’s the idea that the year can be molded and shaped into what we want it to be that fuels this influx of determination and inspiration at the start of the year. Whether it be to get in shape, to ask that special someone out, or to finish that manuscript, the promise of a better tomorrow brings out a sense of belief among people that this year could be their year.
Whether or not these resolutions actually bear fruit come twelve months is another question. There are those who do end up meeting their yearly goals, but for some, the progress gone into achieving their goals stalled after making the resolution. It can’t necessarily be said whether or not resolutions work, because there are examples that contribute to either side of the question. Perhaps it is in looking into these examples that it’s possible to dissect and examine what contributes to the success of a resolution, and whether or not the resolution itself ends up as a major factor in one’s success.
The LaSallian asked a myriad of students whether or not their resolutions from the past year have been successful. The answers were mixed, as expected.
A year’s success
For those who succeeded in meeting their resolutions, their success was attributed to the drive and determination to achieve their goals, as well as being smart about how they plan to accomplish what they mean to versus merely having wishful thinking.
Nerissa Flores (I, BSE-ENG) backs this up, saying, “New Year’s resolutions [are] effective as long as you are committed to achieve each and every one of [them]. Starting small can lead to big changes.” In line with this, starting simple could help in achieving your resolutions. Paula Maraña (I, AB-ISA) said that “I don’t set big expectations for myself, but I still try to be better each time. I don’t set big deadlines or push myself too hard. I just try to achieve resolutions that I could actually handle.”
For others, beyond the goals they set, it’s a mere leap of faith and a belief in oneself that led them to success. In Vince Grajo’s (I, AB-PSM) example, he wanted to improve on himself. “I told myself na resolution ko is to be more real pero so far I think I am naman. I just had to believe in myself because nakakatuwa to see myself growing din as a person and it inspires me rin to develop more.”
(I told myself that my resolution is to be more real, and so far, I think I am doing okay. I just had to believe in myself because it makes me happy seeing myself growing as a person and it inspires me to develop more.)
On following through
Although everyone is hoping to achieve their New Year’s resolutions, there were those who failed. Abby* shares her insights, “My New Year’s resolution was to save money and stop overspending on random things that I don’t need.” When asked why she failed to fulfill her resolution, she says that she simply didn’t have self-control. “[There were] too many tempting things to buy, and stress shopping [was] one of the factors,” she adds. Just like Abby, there was one reason that stood out for most of the students who answered—the lack of motivation and discipline.
A lot of people are caught up with the ambition to create resolutions that they forget to follow through. The new year might be a chance to create plans and dream big on a clean slate, but it is important to remember that changes need work. Most of the time, it is easy to list down all of the things we want to achieve that we forget to factor in the amount of effort and dedication it takes to see the fruit of our resolutions.
New year, old resolutions
Without the motivation and commitment to resolutions, there emerges a cycle. It starts with setting up resolutions for the year, only to later come to the conclusion that they aren’t feasible. Some of us revert back to our old habits, and by December, try to fulfill the same resolutions we failed to fulfill the previous year. This cycle of wanting to become better through our resolutions becomes a long list of things that we could have done.
Are New Year’s resolutions still relevant? Angelo*, who doesn’t believe in New Year’s resolutions, says, “I don’t think New Year’s resolutions are still relevant because the fact that our goals and aspirations change throughout the year. They (our priorities) would shift from the main goals we set at the start of the year.” We must remind ourselves that we are still changing and that it is a constant thing.
We shouldn’t be surprised when our goals at the start of the year turn into something different once we reach half of the year. New Year’s resolutions sound promising, but we should be reminded that we shouldn’t wait for 364 more days to expect change or achieve what we want to do with our lives. It is up to us to enact change, and if we truly wanted to change, then we need not wait for the calendar to flip to January 1 to try.
*Names with asterisks are pseudonyms.