OPINION: No more New Year’s resolutions

You are closer to failing at a one-line goal achieving it



Try not to make resolutions during the most miserable time of the year. Make them during holidays, adapt them in your free time and pursue them during hard times.


“I think that New Year’s resolutions are unrealistic and it is not a good way to make big changes all at once,” said Andrew Cannon, master’s student in electrical engineering. 

Amy Chu, senior business marketing major, said that she likes to make New Year’s resolutions and that she does it every year. She describes herself as a goal-oriented person and having resolutions provides her some guidance in navigating the year with plans. 

“Whenever I have a goal or something to improve, I usually start doing it then and I don’t wait for a specific time, so I don’t do New Year’s resolutions typically,” said senior physics major Emily Mock.

92% of people fail at achieving their new year resolutions every year according to Forbes. That is such a dispiriting number.

Did New Year’s resolutions turn into a culture just to build the economy, especially the gym and diet industry?

I personally was very indifferent about New Year’s resolutions. But after all these interviews and extensive readings on this topic, my opinion evolved to be – resolutions are not only for the New Year.

In fact, resolutions are not to be seen as just goals. 

There needs to be a structure to realizing these goals – a full hierarchy of tasks that need to be performed and all the habits that need to be built. Everything should be recorded as you make your resolution. 

It is very tiresome to be on a feedback loop—to set ambitious goals, get started on them for a few days or weeks, fall back and not follow through with them—time and again. 

Mark Manson, one of my favorite satire authors, describes this phenomenon as ‘the feedback loop from hell’.

You probably have several things you want to achieve or improve this year—drink more water, write frequently, meditate every day, lose that 20 pounds, gain that 10 pounds or even graduate, find a job, etc. 

Whatever your goals are, make sure you pass them through these important three filters: 

  1. Time commitment – As students after classes, homework, research and personal tasks, we only have so much free time left in our hands—say a few hours. You need to make sure to devote a significant portion of your free time to the tasks of your new goal consistently.
  2. Willpower – Just like time, we only have so much willpower every day. It deteriorates as you are navigating your routine. The space you put your new tasks in should contain and measure the exact amount of willpower you might need to accomplish it.
  3. Motivation – This one is very important. I find that when my goals are decided based on peer pressure – like losing weight because of my boyfriends’ comments, being more social with a group of friends I do not enjoy – most likely that I will not follow through with them. Hence, find the right motivation that validates your personal ideals and values. 

Once your goals are balanced on these metrics, you can qualitatively be sure that it is somewhat reasonably attainable. 

You can also measure the realizability of your goals through a SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-constrained) metric. 

Once you have a goal that is reasonable and challenging, find all the steps you need to make that possible and build a routine. This is going to help when you encounter the feedback loop from hell, which we all might at some point.

“I usually start with my big goal and break it down into smaller and smaller goals until I have built a to-do list of things I need to achieve that goal,” Chu said.

Recording and rewarding your progress through this routine is only going to help you believe in your goals more and provide a positive motivational factor – boom, we just turned around the feedback loop from hell. 

Aashni Shah, founder and CEO of HypeDocs, said that taking time to recognize, acknowledge and absorb her past accomplishments has made it easier to believe in herself more.

“Keeping track of our goals and our achievements, big or small, has been the biggest motivation for me and my coworkers in the past. HypeDocs is built on that concept—to keep all your progress and achievements in one place,” she added.

Whatever your method or routine is, it is important to note that there are going to be difficulties and you need to prepare yourself to get back on it.

All that said, we do not have to wait for the New Year to set resolutions and achieve our goals. We do not have to fall for the corporate culture of resolutions that are helping build the economy.

We know better.

I wish you all the most productive term and year.