New Year’s Resolutions.

By, Isabella Lemus

 

“New year, new me.” This common quote captures much of the optimism that people bring with them into the new year. As 2018 began, 40 to 45 percent of Americans made one or more resolution, the most popular including changes in fitness and diet, spending less time on one’s phone, saving money, or being more positive or productive.

But where did the idea for these resolutions originate?

The first practices resembling new year’s resolutions began about four thousand years ago, Ancient Babylonians, and later ancient Romans, according to information on the History Channel website.

At the start of their respective new years, sacrifices as well as promises to repay debts and practice good behavior were made to the gods, the keeping of which was believed to put one in their divine favor.

Nowadays, people seem to have slightly weaker incentive. Of the people who make resolutions, only 8 percent are successful in reaching their goals. As stated by the website Proactive Change, only 75 percent of resolutions are maintained the first week, dropping to 64 percent by the end of the first month.

However, there are methods that can help in achieving goals set for the new year. One being the acronym SMART, a term first written in the 1981 journal Management Review, standing for specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound. Resolutions should be clear, trackable in progress, realistic, have personal meaning, and be given an appropriate time limit.

Another common method is to find someone with similar objectives in order to encourage each other and hold one another accountable for completing your goals. If a goal is to work out more to stay healthy, for example, it can be beneficial to join an exercise class to feel a sense of community and gain the support of like-minded people.

Finding new, creative ways to reach an objective can make the process more fun and engaging as well.

Arguably one of the most important factors in keeping a new year’s resolution, or achieving any goal, is to be persistent. Up to 71 percent of people have small missteps within the first month of their resolution.

Advice from the American Psychological Association suggests the ability to recover from a mistake and accept imperfection is significant in sticking to a plan.