Making New Year's resolutions last

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Molly Geisinger ’15

The new year provides an opportunity for Convent of the Sacred Heart students to frame their own futures by pursuing New Year’s resolutions. With the aid of behavioral advice and iPhone apps, students can remain committed to creating a picture perfect 2015. 

The most popular New Year’s resolutions for 2014 were losing weight, getting organized, and saving money, according to a study from the Journal of Clinical Psychology, published by statisticbrain.comOther resolutions include staying fit, falling in love, and spending more time with family.

Molly Geisinger '15
Molly Geisinger ’15

Although the excitement of the New Year leads to heightened optimism in those seeking to achieve personal goals, the survey found that only 8 percent of Americans were successful in achieving their resolutions in 2014, according to statisticbrain.com.

“My New Year’s resolution was to do better in school work,” freshman Ayna Ramseur-Moore said. “In some classes I’m doing better and in others I’m still working on it.”

There are numerous studies which indicate why many people are unsuccessful in achieving their goals for the New Year. Some reasons include setting unattainable goals, losing motivation or lacking the necessary amount of personal willpower, according to washingtonpost.com

On the other hand, there is plenty of advice for ambitious hopefuls who aim to increase the chances of fulfilling their goals.

Professor Wendy Wood, a teacher of psychology and business at the University of Southern California, says that upholding a New Year’s resolution is more of a habit and about changing personal environments than trying to prepare the mind. 

“To create or change a habit, you have to think much more about altering your environment and patterns of living than work on steeling your mind,” Professor Wood said in an interview with The New York Times.

Professor Wood also says that people can form good habits in an environment where there is no temptation.

Imagine if every morning you had a debate with yourself about eating cake or cereal for breakfast. Instead, most of us form the habit of eating something relatively healthy for breakfast, which bypasses the lure of the cake altogether,” Professor Wood said according to The New York Times.

Dr. BJ Fogg, Director of Stanford’s Persuasive Tech Lab, sees behavioral change as a skill rather than a personal determination.

“Most people think behavior change is all about motivation or willpower. Nope. That’s like saying cooking delicious food is all about adding salt. Yes, adding salt matters at times, but it does not encompass all the skills of cooking,” Dr. Fogg said in his first “Change Lesson,” one lecture from his series of online lessons which offers tips and advice on how to modify behavior.

Dr. Fogg also emphasizes that changing behavior is not just achieving a particular goal that will transform into a habit.

According to forbes.com, other recommendations for staying on top of New Year’s resolutions include taking advantage of smartphone applications.

For those who want to lose weight there are popular apps that count calories and track weight over time such as Loseit! and MyFitnessPal.

Professor Wood believes that hopeful individuals should remain determined in pursuing their resolutions, and ignore any possible setbacks. 

People shouldn’t fear that their habit will dissolve if they don’t practice it daily,” Professor Wood said according to The New York Times.

– Molly Geisinger, Co-Features Editor