Resolutions ring in the New Year, but for many the ringing quickly fades

With the turn of every New Year, we make New Year’s resolutions and promise ourselves that we will follow through and keep our pledges. But, oftentimes after a few weeks or months, our resolutions are pushed to the wayside.

Fairmont junior Shelby Collins made her 2009 New Year’s resolution to stop biting her nails. “For the past three years, that has been my resolution. But after about a month, I always pick up my habit again.”

Junior Jeffrey Caldwell also made a New Year’s resolution last year. “My promise was to tell the truth all the time, but that only lasted about two months,” he said. “I didn’t stick to my resolution because I just got busy and forgot about it as the year went on.”

Tips to keeping New Year’s resolutions

Dr. John Norcross, a psychology professor at the University of Scranton, has advice to help people stick to their resolutions. In a recent NPR interview, he said you need to create realistic, attainable goals. “If you can’t measure it, it’s not a very good resolution because vague goals beget vague resolutions.”

Norcross also said that having confidence that you can keep your resolution will help, but you also need to understand you will have an occasional slip. Norcross conducted a study and found that only about 40-46 percent of people who make resolutions actually follow through with them. This means that more than half of the people who make resolutions don’t keep them.

Junior Michael Cunningham is in the minority of people who kept his New Year’s Resolution from last year. “Last year, my goal was to make friends with everyone in my advisory by senior year, and I have accomplished that.”

Cunningham revealed his secret to sticking to his resolution. “I realized that even though it might be hard, in the end, keeping my resolution makes me a better person, and it makes me feel good to reach that goal.”

Resolutions for 2010

This year, Cunningham’s resolution is to save his money and give his extra money to people in need, rather than buying things for himself. “I am going to take so much money out of my check from work and donate that money to others or friends in need,” he said. “I want to make society better as a whole.” Cunningham believes that improving yourself and society is the reason for New Year’s resolutions.

Caldwell also knows what he wants his New Year’s resolution to be. “This year, I’m going to stop speeding because I tend to speed a lot and I don’t want to get a speeding ticket,” he said. “To make sure I keep my resolution, I’m going to watch my speedometer as a reminder.”

On the Texas Medical Association website, Dr. Saundra Gilfillan, a Dallas psychiatrist, offers advice on how people can stick to their resolutions. She said that you need to develop a plan of action and make that plan a priority. Gilfillan said that one of the most important secrets of keeping New Year’s Resolutions is to take them one day at a time, and make big changes through taking small steps.       

Cunningham thinks that people easily forget their New Year’s resolutions shortly after the holiday season. “They get all excited with the holidays, but after they pass, the excitement wears off and I think a lot of people quickly forget their promises for the New Year,” he said.

Freshman Taylor Connolly knows what she wants her New Year’s resolution to be this year, and she has a plan to keep it. “I’m going to work on getting along with my mom better because we always fight,” said Connolly. “I’m making a plan and setting my resolution as my big goal because I really want to improve and stop back-talking my mom.”

Everyone has a reason for setting their New Year’s resolutions. “I set resolutions to change what I’ve done wrong the year before,” Connolly said.

Caldwell makes New Year’s resolutions because he wants to become a better person. “The purpose of New Year’s resolutions is to improve something you don’t like about yourself.”