How to Break the Cynical Cycle of Resolutions
It’s the New Year which means excitement is fluttering around us as we dream about accomplishing our new overloading bundle of goals! Side by side with our bundle of goals is our bundle of resolutions. You know, those purpose statements we say to ourselves, or even go as far as saying on social media. A universal one is “I am going to eat more healthy”, or “I’m going to get more sleep!” or “I’m going to run!”. But most of these resolutions die out before January even ends. So how can the cycle of resolutions be broken? How can we make our ambitions long term realities?
#1 What is the background purpose of this resolution?
For example, one of my resolutions was getting sleep. The background purpose of this was me finding myself regularly getting sick and breaking down during busy school weeks. In fact, the week before school ended for winter break I was so broken down I couldn’t attend the last four days. Clearly, this wasn’t helpful, and my grades were actually suffering. The whole “staying up studying” situation was actually working against me. This may be easy or difficult depending on the resolution. For example, if your resolution involves changing your diet or exercise regimens it may be difficult to find the underlying purpose. It may make you face self-esteem issues, or recognize an unhealthy relationship with food. In situations like these, I suggest no matter what age you are, to go to a trusted friend or adult about this struggle in order to create a support system.
#2 Once you figure out the purpose of this resolution, share it with close friends/family in your life so they can respect your lifestyle change and help you along your journey.
I have found this crucial. Having a supportive environment makes me feel like “the world isn’t against me”, and helps motivate me to keep going! This is especially helpful if your resolution involves changing something in your environment. For example, with my resolution to sleep more, once I told my family they helped gently remind me what time it was nightly as I was studying or vegging out so I could keep track of how late it was getting.
#3 Once you have a support system, find several different ways you can tackle this resolution.
If you attack the issue from multiple different sides, there’s a higher chance of it going away! For example, with my sleep resolution, I decided to:
- Minimize my time on social media, especially at night when I’m close to bedtime
- Be proactive with my homework so I have less to do at night when I am at home
- Plan out my studying most time efficiently so I don’t drag it on all night
- Read a book to fall asleep not my phone.
- Only watch shows/movies if its at least two hours before bedtime so I can veg out but still be able to sleep on time.
These four ways of helping my resolution continue past January really make a difference.
A lot of times people give up resolutions because they are too hard to maintain. A growth mindset is necessary to keep a positive outlook and motivation to keep trudging through the highs and lows of this change! You may have days where the resolution is so difficult to follow and end up breaking it. That is okay! One day is not a big deal. What does count is being proactive about the situation: reflecting on why it was broken and what you can do to minimize the chances of that happening again! (We all do this when we make mistakes riding, we can do it with this too!)
Throughout my development from a pre-teen, to a teenager, to gradually becoming a young adult I have experienced a lot of ups and downs with my self-esteem. The holidays have always been a difficult time for me because of the cold darkness of winters in New Jersey, the infinite desserts floating around me everywhere I go and winter-break tropical beach pics I see flood my Instagram. It's hard for anyone. Which is why everyone should be given the proper support everyone deserves! I have made many short-lived resolutions I have kept to myself through the years which involved cutting out sugary things, exercising more, etc. and some were not bad at all but the intentions behind them were very wrong. I have had lots of body image issues and have gone to new years resolutions as the answer for them. But I haven’t gone about it the right way. Step #2 (having the right support system/environment) is truly key to changing your life in a positive way.
I hope this article has given you some insight on how to keep your resolutions throughout this year. And I would love to hear all the highs and lows of your journey on the TFE Instagram! Thank you for having me, and remember to embrace the journey because it's not just about the destination :)
TFE Ambassador Martha Wyatt-Luth
Junior jumper and equitation rider from New Jersey