When January 1st comes around and the holiday traditions have gone, 40-44% of Americans set New Year’s Resolutions in attempt to either lose weight, eat healthy, be more fit, stop procrastinating, journal more, be more positive, and the list goes on. The reality is that only a slim percentage of those people actually follow through with their resolutions. People have been setting new year’s resolutions since the 17th century which means people have also been breaking them since then. An article titled “This Year, Don’t Set New Year’s Resolutions,” published by Forbes and written by Ashira Prossack, says that less than 25% of people stay committed to their resolutions and only 8% accomplish them. If so few people follow through and accomplish their resolutions, why do people make them?
Holt High School psychology teacher, Russ Olcheske said, “I think everybody’s trying to find a part of their life that they want to improve on... they’re looking for ways to improve themselves, their health, their lifestyle.”
Somewhere, Americans are messing up in the process of setting their resolutions. In that same article, Prossack explains that Americans make such broad resolutions which makes it easy to lose focus. Olcheske points out that a more beneficial tactic would be to find the steps needed to get where you want to go. He said, “If you want to lose a certain amount of weight, for example, how are you going to go about doing that?”
Experts are recommending that people start making goals, instead of resolutions. This way, there is specificity which helps humans focus on a few certain things which leads them to accomplishing the larger things.
How are people going to make sure they are completing their steps? For senior Liberty Bleicher, it’s as simple as having a planner. “I make a planner and check off my checklist everyday,” Bleicher said. For someone who goes to school all day and plays a year round sport, this is the most beneficial way for her to keep track of what steps she needs to make to accomplish her goals.
Olcheske agrees with the use of planners as well. “When you put it down in your planner, you are setting aside a specific time or day for achieving that goal,” he said. When time is planned out to accomplish certain things, it makes it more likely that people will follow through with those things.
An article titled, “6 Reasons Why You Should Use A Daily Planner” published by Psychology Today and written by Barbra Markway said, “ using a planner allows you to schedule each event, appointment, errand, and task, so that you know what to expect and don’t run out of time.”
Planners are a way to not only set out time for specific things but also to have a visual look at what needs to get done which can help people destress when life gets busy. The hot topic that experts are discussing is how everyone has a different way in which they are motivated which means people don’t accomplish their goals in the same way that their peers might.
Junior Gabby McWilliams said, “I know that at the end I’m going to be happy with what I’ve done.” McWilliams, along with several others, motivates herself by the end outcome. McWilliams also has a tactic she uses to keep herself motivated. She said, “I like to think about the people around me and how lucky I am so I can’t be down about the [bad] things so when I do get down I have to push myself to get up [because of the good things].”
Freshman Julia Toomey has a goal to make the varsity tennis team this year and she is motivated by passion. She said, “I’m passionate about the sport.” She sets goals in areas she has passion for which motivates her to accomplish them.
Senior Claire Bergethon uses the method of accountability. Bergethon said, “accountability helps me reach my goals because it makes sure that I’m not the only person aware of what I’m trying to do.”
Bergethon has a goal to read more books for enjoyment this year and she has her mother check in with her often about how she is doing with that. She believes that this tactic helps her achieve what she is striving for.
“Accounting on someone else helps me feel more motivated because I know it’s not just going to be about myself,”
Bergethon said.An article titled, 5 Benefits of Accountability to Achieve Your Goals, published by Stacias Success Blog and written by Stacia Pierce said that accountability will keep you engaged. “There are things that will come up that will distract you from your goals and take you off course. Even when you’re bored, distracted or tired, knowing that you have to answer for your progress will keep you going to the finish line,” Pierce said.
There are a vast number of ways in which people are motivated which means that often time, people achieve their goals through different means of motivation. An article titled, Differences of Extrinsic and Intrinsic Motivation” published by verywellmind and written by Kendra Cherry, refers to extrinsic motivation as when we are motivated to perform a behavior or engage in an activity to earn a reward or avoid punishment. The same article says that intrinsic motivation involves engaging in a behavior because it is personally rewarding; essentially, performing an activity for its own sake rather than the desire for some external reward.
Olckeske said, “the best way to be motivated is intrinsically like ‘I want to do this for my health.’ If there’s extrinsic motivation, that’s okay like ‘hey I want to impress my friends’ or ‘I want to do this for my family’ or ‘ I want to do this for my kids’ that can be helpful but I think people that are more likely to stick to their goals are doing it because they want it for themselves and not because they are trying to prove something or do something for somebody else.”
Olchesk shared some more powerful tips to help people in the process of setting, following through, and accomplishing their goals.
“Set realistic goals, applaud yourself for baby steps, set goals that are challenging but not unrealistic, and do it for you, do it for the right reasons,”