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New Year's Resolutions Are Sabotages to Success

New Year's Resolutions Are Sabotages to Success

As the clock ticks every second oh so closer to the new year, people across America are also coming closer and closer to finishing up their list of New Year’s resolutions. After an entire holiday season of Christmas cookies, mashed loaded potatoes, pies, and hot chocolate, weight loss and dieting are just some of the most common items on New Year’s resolutions lists. However, it is exactly goals like dieting that highlight the main reasons why the nature of today’s popular New Year’s resolutions are sabotaging success.

There are many reasons why New Year’s resolutions often end up crumbled and tossed aside out of frustration then proudly framed with a check mark next to every goal. As Harvard Business School Associate Professor and psychologist Amy Cuddy explains to Business Insider, “we’re really bad at setting reasonable goals”.  First off, the mindset behind New Year’s resolutions is limited by negativity. Especially regarding goals such as weight loss, Cuddy explains that such goals focus on our imperfections and what we hate about ourselves rather than the positive aspects of ourselves we’d like to further enhance. When we brainstorm resolution ideas, we start off determined to change either mentally or physically to become a person we would admire more. Whether we consciously know it or not, this negativity is lowering our self-confidence and sabotaging our chances of fulfilling our goals.

Another reason New Year’s resolutions are often doomed to fail is the absoluteness of our goals. As it appears on many of our goal lists, we tend to write things like “Stop watching TV”, “Exercise everyday”, and “Always clean my room”. However, these goals loaded with words like “stop” and “always” are so absolute that they usually end up tying the goal-maker to an endless cycle of excuses. There are going to be times when an emergency, an accident, or the simple onslaught of a cold prevents us from always cleaning our rooms or exercising every single day. However once we break the cycle of “always” whether on purpose or not, we are more prone to inventing excuses in the future and ultimately giving up our goals. In this sense, for those who like to make absolute goals, more distant and broad targets such as “Get an A this semester” may prove to be more effective.

Finally, people’s New Year’s resolutions are starting to look more like our wish list to Santa rather than serious commitments. In the fast-paced and technology oriented world today, there are just so many things to accomplish that people often fail to realize that successful New Year’s resolutions are serious and realistic goals, not bucket lists. Overestimation of ourselves can be dangerous. A list of 20 goals may seem ambitious, but they are rarely achieved. The start of a new year means new beginnings for everyone, so it is better to avoid overwhelming ourselves but rather start fresh with two to three goals that we are confident in.

2015 holds more promises to the world than any year before. With the rise of cool technologies such as Google Glass, advances in feminism with the He For She campaign, and breakthroughs in science such as European Space Agency’s first human space exploration, ambitions are high. However, when it comes to the classic New Year’s Resolutions, it is important to keep our goals positive, avoid absolutes, and abandon the bucket list method. To welcome 2015, let us put the resolve in resolution and see amazing changes. 


Living in Durham, North Carolina, Cheryl is currently a junior in high school. She is completely in love with free expression through writing and has a wide range of opinions on various issues in popular culture, politics, and social topics. She is also passionate about women's and children's rights. Besides Her Culture, Cheryl also writes for Miss Heard Magazine, United 4 Social Change, and is a high school ambassador for Her Campus. In her free time, she enjoys cooking, shopping, and 20th century books in particular.


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