Are New Year’s Resolutions Effective?
As we transition into 2017, there are specific traditions that we as Americans do at the start of the year. We eat collard greens and Hoppin’ John, watch fireworks, and watch the ball drop in Times Square.
Making New Year’s resolutions is another practice that many of us enjoy at the start of a new year. We resolve to eat healthier, exercise more, or implement other changes in our lives that we believe will make us better. But are these resolutions ever actually successful?
Sophomore Jordany Zamor believes that the new year is a good time for a fresh start. He has been making New Year’s resolutions since he was very young.
“I’ve been making resolutions since I was like, one year old,” said Zamor.
Zamor’s resolution this year is to pick up archery.
“I wanted to learn because it’s a skill I’m very into,” said Zamor. “Also, I love the movie Brave.”
Zamor has high hopes for this resolution and believes in himself after completing his resolution from last year.
“I made a resolution to make the basketball team, and I did that,” said Zamor. “Now I’m a starter.”
While Zamor enjoys making resolutions, others believe they are a waste of time.
“New Year’s resolutions are for fools,” said junior Isabella DeStefano. “In my experience, people say they’ll eat healthier or exercise more, but most people never follow through.”
DeStefano sees the flaws in attempting to make resolutions. She says it takes a lot of effort to actually carry out the resolutions you make.
“It’s not easy to make time for it because it’s not in your regular routine,” said DeStefano.
While Zamor does like making resolutions, he agrees that in many cases, resolutions do not work out because they are simply not reasonable.
“I wanted to learn five languages in one year, but it didn’t work because I set unrealistic expectations for myself,” said Zamor.
Math teacher Claudius Guynn shares a similar viewpoint. He, too, has made unrealistic resolutions in the past.
“I made plans that were just too ambitious,” said Guynn. “Over the years I’ve learned that I have to be realistic about things I want to change.”
Guynn did not make New Year’s resolutions this year, and has not for several years. He believes that if there is something about yourself that you want to change, you should not have to wait until the first of January.
“There’s nothing magical about January first,” said Guynn. “You can make a resolution June first.”
Theresa Abernathy, AP World History teacher at Chamblee, is of the same opinion as Guynn.
“Focusing on goals on January first is counter-productive to me,” said Abernathy. “It’s an everyday job to prioritize what is important to an individual.”
While Abernathy herself does not normally make resolutions, she thinks that they can be helpful to certain people.
“I imagine, for some people, they are effective to get them motivated in the new year,” said Abernathy.
She has, however, made some resolutions in the past. She resolved to start strength training several years ago, and has been successfully carrying out that resolution since.
Some of Abernathy’s resolutions, however, were not as successful.
“I made a resolution last year to quit sending funny animal videos to Coach Reynolds,” said Abernathy. “I didn’t last very long on that one.”
Band teacher Colleen Marin shares similar views with Guynn and Abernathy on the productivity of New Year’s Resolutions.
“From experience, and from observing friends and family the resolution only holds for about a month,” said Marin. “Then February hits. Everyone gets stressed out and there’s every excuse in the world to stop.”
Marin believes when aiming for a resolution or a goal, making a pact or working with someone is a better way to ensure success than a stand alone plan.
“My husband and I are actually working together to control [our eating habits] because both of us have noticed a significant lifestyle change we’re not happy with,” said Marin. “I don’t know if I would call it a New Year’s resolution. We’re kind of settling into life, so it’s just a good time to start establishing good eating habits.”
Although not everyone finds resolutions to be as effective as assumed, junior Mechya Sterling sees them as a way to challenge herself and have fun while doing so.
“I make goals [resolutions] to improve myself in some way,” said Sterling. “I find the challenge satisfying because I actually have a goal and I’m working at it.”
Sterling has been regularly making resolutions for herself for the past two years.
“Our youth pastor told us to write down things we expect from God in 2016 and I went ahead and made myself a resolution list, too,” said Sterling. “This is my second year actually putting it on my phone and getting serious about it.”
Sterling has about a page long list of resolutions she plans to keep throughout the year.
“I want to: do 10 pull-ups without help, bench press 60 pounds, learn how to skate backwards, get my license, get a job, finish reading the Bible, keep my virginity, turn 18 and make a successful omurice,” said Sterling. “An omurice is a Japanese omelet thing with rice.”
Other students have found resolutions to be a positive influence on them striving to reach their goals as well.
“I had a resolution to reach a high Db on my instrument[trombone],” said junior Ahmaud Gabriele. “ I practiced three weeks straight and asked Ms. Mitchell[a past Chamblee band teacher] for help and I did it.”