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New Years Resolutions: What You Need to Know

Updated on January 15, 2017

A Rookie Mistake

Ahh New Years... the time of year that everyone tells themselves lies, and then wakes up the next day and finds an excuse to not to live up to their expectations. Now, don't get me wrong, I love New Years... but I can't stand listening to people talk about their resolutions. I mean, resolutions are a good thing, if they're reasonable. But believe me, we've all heard the classic

- "I'm going to start working out!"

- "I'm going to work harder!"

- "I'm going to stop telling so many lies!"

That right there, ladies and gents, is an example of a rookie mistake. We've all told ourselves these lies at one point in our lives. And, to top it all off, ninety percent of the time we subconsciously know that we won't follow through with these resolutions anyways. So, I'm here to give you a brief background on resolutions, ways to make a good one, and how to stick to it this year.

A *Brief* History of New Years Resoltuions

Simply, a new years resolution is a tradition in which a person decides to change a displeasing habit or trait of theirs. It is believed that this tradition first began with the Babylonians around 4,000 years ago. Their New Year began in mid-March when they planted their crops. It was at this time that a 12-day, huge religious festival called Akitu took place. During this festival, the Babylonians crowned a new king or re-declared their loyalty to the current one. They also promised the gods that they would return any borrowed objects and repay their debts. These pledges are believed to be the origin of our modern-day New Years resolutions.

Ancient Babylonia

The Citizens of Ancient Babylonia.
The Citizens of Ancient Babylonia. | Source

How to Do it Right

Now that you know the basics, here's how to write a resolution that you'll actually stick to this year:

Stay SMART:

Specific - Say you want to get it shape. What does that mean to you? Do you want to be able to run a mile non-stop? Be able to do fifty push-ups? Set specific goals so it's easier to plan how you are going to reach that goal.

Measurement - If you can measure your progress, you will be more motivated to achieve your goal.

Action-Orientated - Take Action. Rather than just saying, "I want to clear my house of junk", say something more along the lines of "Everyday, I will throw out one piece of junk from my closet." A resolution is easier to keep if you have an action plan.

Reasonable - As much as you'd love to be able to run three miles every day, you might not have the time/stamina to do so. So, start off small. Maybe make your resolution to run a mile a week, and eventually you can bump it up to two miles a week, and so on. This way, you are more likely to follow through with your resolution.

Time-Driven - Have a short-term and long-term goal, and a way to achieve both. Rather than saying "I will boost my grade." Say something more like, "In the next two months I will six months I will study harder, then I'll get a good grade of my finals, and I will finish the year with a passing grade in every class by June."

What About You?

How Long do Your New Years Resolutions Typically Last?

See results

Times Square Celebrations

2017 is Celebrated in Times Square, New York.
2017 is Celebrated in Times Square, New York. | Source

Motivation!

Even the best of us need motivation from time to time; especially when all hope seems lost. Keeping up your resolution may seem pointless after a while. Thus, here are a few ways to keep yourself motivated so you can achieve your goal.

Reward Yourself Along the Way - If you are consistent and keep up your resolution, feel free to treat yourself every now and then. BUT, make sure the reward is not counterproductive to your goal. For example, if you are trying to spend less money, don't reward yourself by going on a shopping spree. Instead, maybe allow yourself a trip to the movies with friends or a relaxing spa day; not a trip to the mall.

Invite a Friend to Join - There's no one who can light a fire under your butt like your best friend. Have your friend sign up for that gym membership with you, so you can motivate each other to reach your goal.

Don't Quit After One Mistake - There will be many mistakes and slip-ups along the way. Change doesn't come in an instant. Stay motivated and stay hopeful. If you put your mind to it, anything is possible.

Keep on Going

Even When all Hope Seems Lost, Keep on Going; Nothing is Impossible. :)
Even When all Hope Seems Lost, Keep on Going; Nothing is Impossible. :) | Source

Mix it Up!

Keeping your New Years Resolutions doesn't have to be so laborious. Have fun with your resolutions, and be creative. Your resolution doesn't have to be simple and similar to everyone else's. Think outside the box! Maybe make your resolution to volunteer at a soup kitchen, or to knock a few things off your bucket list. Just make sure you will benefit from your resolution and that it will make you a better person. Also, don't give up when things are looking rough. Just keep on keeping on. And remember, it's never too late to make a resolution. You don't need to wait until next year. Rather than "New year, new me," try "New day, new me!"

What Does a Good Resolution Look Like?

Resolution?
Good or Bad?
Why?
I'm going to loose weight.
Bad.
You have no action plan to achieve your goal.
I'm going to eat healthier and exercise more.
Eh... It's ok.
You have a general idea of the action you are going to take, but it's not specific enough.
In the next week, I am going to join a weight watching program. Then I am going to start eating healthier and going to the gym at least twice a week for the rest of the year.
Great!
You have a well thought-out action plan to achieve your goal.

Think Outside the Box

Try Making Your Resolution Based Around Volunteer Work, Such as Helping Out at a Soup Kitchen or a Local Animal Shelter.
Try Making Your Resolution Based Around Volunteer Work, Such as Helping Out at a Soup Kitchen or a Local Animal Shelter. | Source

Alternatives

Tired of the same old resolutions every year? Mix it up with some great alternatives:

- Write a letter to your future self

- List your favorite memories of the year

- Make a list of things to look forward to in the new year.

- Focus on your good qualities, rather than the ones you need to change.

- Make a resolution to do something for others rather than for yourself.

In Brief:

Have fun with your resolutions this year! Ring in the new year with positivity. Don't look at your resolutions as burdens, but as something to make you an overall better person! Most importantly, I want everyone to stay hopeful. No matter how tough life may seem, look on the bright side. After all, you are using a computer to read this article. Many people can't afford computers or other luxuries you may have. So even in the darkest hour, know that there are most likely people who have it worse than you that are making ends meet. So always stay hopeful, and have a great new year!

© 2017 Rachel Lev

I Love to Hear Your Ideas and Opinions:

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      Jewel Singh 7 months ago

      Wonderful article...really made me think of my own motivation.

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      T-N-T 7 months ago

      Good stuff. Would love to make it thru the year with at least one resolution. Maybe 2017 will be the year! Peace out

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      Symphony Powers 7 months ago

      Hi! I think this is a really helpful article. Usually, I make very typical, boring resolutions. I typically only end up keeping these for like a week or so. Hopefully, these tips will help my change my life for the better! Thank!