Jack McCann looks at the pros and cons of New Years resolutions, and advises that little changes can make a greater difference than the big ones...

It’s the season of New Year resolutions.  The top ten New Year resolutions for 2014 were lose weight; get organised; spend less; enjoy life to the fullest; stay fit and healthy; learn something exciting; quit smoking; help others in their dreams; fall in love and spend more time with family.

However, even though lots of people make resolutions at the start of a new year, only a tiny 8% of those people are successful with the goals they set. Less than half of people have success every now and then and nearly a quarter of people fail completely.

So why do people even bother making resolutions in the first place considering they are more than likely not going to succeed?

Making a list of things to achieve by some point during the forthcoming year, enables you to set targets. By setting goals a person can clarify the end vision that they would like for themselves in six months, a year or ten years.

By clarifying your end goals you develop a focus on these targets and this will drive you forward, as you’ll know where you want to end up instead of just going along with the idea that you’ll end up where you end up and there isn’t much you can do.

By setting targets they can help you achieve your potential and striving towards your newly set targets will make you push yourself to think outside the box and into new situations and environments.

Lastly, setting targets will enable you to live life to the fullest. By pushing yourself to learn or experience something new and different you can look at life from a completely different perspective and open up your mind to a complete range of new ideas and ways.

Another reason why resolutions are a good idea, is that the Christmas, New Year period isn’t all good for some people, as many people can feel down and low when they think about how little they may have ‘achieved’ in the year gone by.

By sitting down and putting on paper what they will aim to achieve in the next year it takes their mind off what is getting them down and makes them that bit happier.

Also by writing down resolutions gives these people an even bigger sense of achievement as they tick aims off the list throughout the year.

However, even though setting goals is good for people, only a few people actually feel the full benefit, as aforementioned very few people actually 100% follow through with them.

By the six month mark less than half, 46% of people, continue with their aims. Luckily for us students, people in their 20s are nearly three times more likely to achieve their resolutions than those who are 50 or older.

There is still hope for those students who feel like they need to set aims and targets to feel like they’ve achieved something. However, there are a few reasons why you don’t need to set targets or make resolutions at all this year.

The number one resolution around the world in 2014 was to lose weight. However, just saying “I’ll hopefully have lost X amount of weight in 12 months” time, can put a lot of unnecessary pressure on some people. Some people thrive under this kind of pressure, a lot don’t.

This can happen due to the fact that the person set themselves the target of losing X amount by Christmas 2016, however, come that time they’ve lost less than that.

This sense of failure for not reaching the target can severely damage a person’s self-worth. All this person may see is not having reached their target, however, they may forget that they actually did achieve something, they did lose some weight. 

The New Year’s resolution that was made potentially made the person blind to what they have achieved.

No matter how small the amount is, the person should be extremely proud that they did achieve something as John Wooden says ‘’it's the little details that are vital. Little things make big things happen’’.

It’s about more than numbers. Don’t join your local gym just for the sake of making it look like you’re doing something like your friends or relatives.

First, you’d be wasting money, as you’d more than likely stop going after a couple of weeks. Secondly, you’d become part of the stat of those people who failed with their new year’s resolutions.

Rather than set yourself a target of going to the gym 3 or 4 times a week, you could always just cycle or walk to places like College or a friend’s house more. Therefore you’d only make a small change to your routine which would be easy to implement but overtime would make a difference.

It may take more than a year to see a huge or tangible difference, however, it doesn’t matter how you get there as long as you do it a way that makes you feel happy while you’re doing it and at the end as well.

If you have yet to make New Year’s resolutions, you should want to remember to make them tangible (able to be finished within the year), simple (i.e. climbing Everest isn’t simple whereas walking to more places is) and lastly limit yourself.

Don’t set yourself a million and one things to achieve. A handful of things will enable you to focus better on them, ensure you don’t spread yourself too thin and crack half way through the year and will give you a better sense of achievement once you reach the end of the year as you’ll have achieved a lot.

As long as you feel like you’ve achieved something, it doesn’t matter what a piece of paper says or other people say.

 

Photo: CherryPoint/Flickr