C/O Tim Mossholder, Unsplash

There are many reasons why making date-based resolutions doesn’t work out for most people 

By: Ardena Bašić, Contributor 

The new year is often seen as a fresh start for many, leading to a variety of resolutions that can range from healthier habits to career and professional goals. However, if we associate any given goal with a specific date or timeframe, it can be highly discouraging if we are unable to meet our original expectations.  

Instead, we should adopt a mentality wherein we begin our goals as soon as feasible — instead of waiting for tomorrow, next week or another significant date. This will allow us to be more flexible and proactive in reaching our goals, alongside overcoming a dependence on pure motivation to drive our behaviour.  

A common topic of conversation this time of year is our new year goals or resolutions. Yet, there are a myriad of problems with this date-based approach to our goals. Firstly, attaching a specific date to a new behavior can lead to negative consequences if we are not committed for a move into the “new.” 

For example, one could resolve to exercise every day in the new year, but immediately feel discouraged when they miss the first day or a single day following. This is one major cause of failure for many resolutions. 

Moreover, many individuals are not prepared to realize their goals by the time the new year begins. Considering that lasting change requires acceptance on a mental and physical level, many goals are not reached since Jan. 1 is an arbitrary date that is not individual to the person’s need for prior preparation and contemplation.  

Additionally, many people may be motivated by the environment and ambiance that the new year brings. However, this feeling does not linger forever so an individual is left to find alternative sources of motivation.  

This can be difficult and lead to further failure in reaching one’s goals if one does not find an innate passion — their own why — to continue their refreshed pursuits.  

Lastly, the new year is a general time that does not conform to individual needs. Many behaviors like exercising more, starting meditation or watching less television are common but not necessarily suited to a distinct person.  

In lacking specificity and relevance, a goal is not likely to be reached as a person does not evaluate them as highly vital to a lifestyle superior to their current one. It is clear to see that a new year’s resolution may not be in everyone’s best interest.  

It is clear to see that a new year’s resolution may not be in everyone’s best interest.  

Ardena Bašić, Contributor 

The best approach to a significant change is simply to start as soon as possible. If you want to start drinking more water, grab a glass as soon as you finish reading this article. If you want to make more time for friends, set a reminder in your phone to message a person at the same time each day.  

Rather than putting immense pressure on oneself to achieve something by — or start it on — a particular day, you are simply taking micro steps in the very moment.  

However, it should be noted that you shouldn’t be overtly pressuring yourself if you’re not ready for new things. Although some form of a “push” is necessary sometimes, it can be overly harmful in some instances.  

Although some form of a “push” is necessary sometimes, it can be overly harmful in some instances. 

Ardena Bašić, Contributor 

Be honest with yourself about what goals are right for you and when is the appropriate time to start. This will also be helpful in giving one time to internalize their motive — their true why — and disregard temporary external motivation that will not be as fruitful in helping achieve one’s goals.  

Although the new year seems like a suitable time to try new things, it can be more damaging than positive in some scenarios. It is vital that we are honest with ourselves in how and when we will best achieve our goals and allow them to come from a place of true commitment and desire as opposed to fleeting motivation.  

Making changes for us — as opposed to what’s happening around us — is where sustainable and impactful transformation truly begins. 

[adrotate banner="16"]

[feather_share show="twitter, google_plus, facebook, reddit, tumblr" hide="pinterest, linkedin, mail"]

By: Takhliq Amir

With a New Year comes a new beginning, new opportunities, and the traditional New Year resolution. For many of us, the start of 2016 brought about a chance to once again bring out those handy notebooks, uncap the new ink pen, and begin creating a list of everything to achieve in the new year. We sat there, a giddy feeling coursing through us, as we pondered on the aspirations of this year and all the things we could possibly accomplish.

Every year in my life that passes, however, brings about rising doubts regarding the value of these resolutions. A small number of people actually fulfill their resolutions despite many with good intentions. Listening to the radio I heard a host comment, mocking those who attempt resolutions, and how no one can ever actually be expected to carry them out. Even my chemistry professor joked about the fleetingness of these promises. And yet we seem to have forgotten that that is what they are: promises.

Regardless of whether or not New Year’s resolutions are something to be adopted, they should be considered as promises to oneself. A New Year’s resolution might be overly ambitious, but it is also a challenge and a promise to yourself to work towards achieving a goal. It is a test of your own capabilities and a push at your personal conviction.

As humans, we are programmed to make excuses for our actions and behaviours that might, and are probably, a shortcoming. Nobody likes to admit failure, after all. As well, New Year’s resolutions, as a start to the year, give us something exciting, something exhilarating to look forward to. Imagine if, by the end of the year, I visit all 25 countries on my list! But they can also set us up for failure. And sometimes, while writing the resolutions might have been an invigorating experience, the failure of not achieving something produces a greater disappointment.

Every year in my life that passes, however, brings about rising doubts regarding the value of these resolutions.

I want to ask you then to not make New Year’s resolutions if you are not serious about them. There is intense satisfaction in fulfilling a resolution, which is easily spoiled by the carelessness with which they are perceived and pursued. New Year’s resolutions have become merely a symbol that welcomes in the year, a tradition that has been carried on from past generations and will likely be passed on to the next. Instead, think about the things you’d like to achieve today, tomorrow, even in the next week or month. But don’t lose sight of the end goal. These resolutions are worth as much as the fulfilling sense of accomplishment that achieving them evokes. So be ambitious and be daring, but also keep the promises that you make to yourself.

Photo Credit: Jon White/Photo Editor

[thesil_related_posts_sc]Related Posts[/thesil_related_posts_sc]


By: Emile Shen

Starting is the hardest part

As quickly as resolutions are made, they seem to be broken. How can we work on making those dreams into a reality, and unlocking the infinitesimal potential within us?

Newton’s first law of motion applies to setting goals too. Objects in motion, stay in motion. It’s about that extra force that’s the most difficult part; it requires extra motivation and effort to get your goals started. That is the most trying part.

Cut down the number of goals

Along with the hustle and bustle of day to day life, a long list of resolutions add to the stress. Whether this is making an effort to be more organized, start volunteering somewhere, go to the gym three times a week, and also preparing healthy meals for yourself – it adds up. If you limit yourself to a couple goals at a time, there is a higher probability that you will find them more achievable. Our cognitive resources are limited, after all.

Set smaller goals and check in

It may be easy to pick up bad habits but it requires a lot more effort and time to get rid of them. Concrete steps are the bridge that take you from just thinking about something to doing it. If you want to become more fit, find a workout buddy or rent a locker. If you want to quit smoking, don’t go cold turkey. Start by smoking one less cigarette per day, and gradually wean yourself off.

Hold yourself accountable

Something unique about humans is our ability to self-delude. It is easy to put things off until later and/or become frustrated at the lack of results. You can simultaneously embrace the now with a #yoloswag, #carpediem attitude (I’m sorry everybody), that helps you build towards a better future you.

Share your goals selectively

When you tell someone your goal, you receive social acknowledgment and praise for simply setting a goal. At this point, your mind has already tricked itself into believing that you’ve accomplished something, so you become less likely to work for whatever you were aiming for in the first place.  However, when goals are kept to yourself, there is delayed gratification from when you actually work towards achieving them.

Sarah O’ Connor / Silhouette Staff

Promises upon promises upon promises. “My New Year’s Resolution is to lose weight.” “My New Year’s Resolution is to ask out my crush.” “My New Year’s Resolution is to be a better person.”

It happens every year when that silver ball drops at midnight. Every year when lovers kiss for luck and the single cheer that vows this will be their year. Every person makes a resolution, planning on how to make this year the best year yet. But will it be the best? I’ve never been in the habit of making resolutions. From my foggy childhood memory, I remember being asked what my resolution would be for the coming year.

I shrugged my shoulders, unsure how to reply. How can you plan to change something in one year? I suppose it depends on the weight of the resolution. If it’s something small like losing weight, that is possible.A person can lose a significant amount of weight in a year, if they actually put the effort into losing weight.

If it’s something like asking out a crush it is also possible, but harder. It shouldn’t be so difficult to ask someone out, but it is when all a person can think about is looking like a fool, their stomach fluttering with nerves, anxiety pulsing through every fiber of their body. Asking that special someone if they “want to go on a date” would make walking into a volcano look fun.

And when someone says they’ll be a better person, that’s nearly impossible. How can someone change who he or she is in one year when they have been themselves for X number of years?

The truth is, every time someone makes a New Year’s Resolution, there’s a part of them that knows they don’t have to keep it.

I always feel that New Year’s Resolutions set us up for failure. Too many people use the easy cop-out that “there’s always next year.” And there is always next year until one year you’re old and wrinkled. This might be it.

Why don’t we look to New Year’s Resolutions as goals? True, they’re both basically the same thing, but goals set us up for success. Goals are attainable. We work hard to achieve our goals, but we push off resolutions. With goals, people are allowed to go at there own pace. With resolutions, we only have 365 days.

Jemma Wolfe

Senior ANDY Editor

It’s been over a week now since the start of the new year, and if you’re like me, your body is still recovering from Frost Week while your mind is struggling to get back on track with unforgiving classes.

It’s hard to find the time for a little nostalgia about the year past, or to wrap your head around the vastness of the year ahead. Allow me, then, to quickly recap.

On a somber note, 2011 marked the ten-year anniversary of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks; coincidentally, it also marked the death of Osama bin Ladin. Political revolution took over countless nations across the pond, Occupy Wall Street exploded across North America, we said goodbye to Elizabeth Taylor and Steve Jobs, and Kate and William tied the knot.

As we welcome in the Year of the Dragon, a look ahead is also in order. In 2012, Daniel Radcliffe will attempt his first film since the finale of the Harry Potter franchise, Peter Jackson will finally release The Hobbit, and hopefully summertime comedies will be better than last year. (Really, could they get much worse?)

Fingers crossed, there will be a calming down of Skrillex-esque dubstep fever, horrible collaborations of desperate old fogeys will stop (yes, Lou Reed and Metallica, I mean you), and Rebecca Black will forever hold her peace.

Next month, we’ll see the first February 29 in four years and another crop of Leap Year babies. June will see the convocation of thousands of McMaster grads, and will mean a sad goodbye for two particularly exceptional ANDY editors. In September, I’ll reach my twenty-firstbirthday. (Where did the time go?) Come December, absurd apocalypse prophesies will inevitably take over the media – prepare not for the end of the world, but for the end of rationality.

As we reflect on the year past and look tentatively into the moths ahead, forget the half-hearted resolutions, the clichéd goals and the false sense of leaving-it-all-behind that January 1 seems to generate.

To quote President Patrick Deane, let’s simply go forward with integrity into this new year.

The start of 2018 brings mixed feelings in regards to starting off the year on the right foot and beginning a new semester. Resolutions, and talks of “bettering” ourselves can be helpful for motivation, but sometimes they bring a daunting perspective to the new year. Here are some reasonable, but helpful, resolutions and motivations that you can make for 2018, without getting too stressed out.

Class GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

Go to a class. If we’re being quite honest, there’s a lot of students who don’t end up going to classes. Whether it be mental wellness reasons, extracurriculars or sleeping in, it can be quite easy just to stay at home instead of making the trek to school in the snow. Try making it to at least one class this week.


Tina Fey Bedtime GIF by Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt - Find & Share on GIPHY

Give yourself a bedtime. Friends, partying or even Netflix binges can have students messing up their sleep schedules. And while staying up until 4 am finishing up the latest season of Black Mirror can be fun, rest is incredibly important for mental well-being and for learning. Give yourself a time you want to be under the covers and make sure you get a healthy 8 hours sleep.


Gerry Dee Comedy GIF by CBC - Find & Share on GIPHY

Put down your phone. While mobile phones are the main way we communicate with people now, they can become distracting when you’re trying to hang out with friends and family in real life. On your next trip to Snooty’s with the lads, or during a wine and movie night, turn off your device and enjoy the moment.


Scared 30 Rock GIF by HULU - Find & Share on GIPHY

Drink more water. If you’re reading this, without a doubt you know about the ~magical properties~ of water. As humans are made out of 60% of water, it’s vital to our lives: it makes our skin better, it helps with headaches, and it flushes out waste and bacteria. Set a daily alarm to make sure you get at least one big bottle of water in a day (the ideal amount is 2L though)!


Bunny Rabbit GIF by Originals - Find & Share on GIPHY

Eat. As a university student, ye old “three balanced nutritional meals a day” seems like something from a different universe. With school, jobs and other commitments busting up our schedule, eating out and eating less can easily become the alternative. Drag yourself to your nearest grocery store to stock up on nutrients for the week.

This list may seem simple, but it’s important to re-center ourselves and get back into positive routines! Happy 2018 y’all!

Subscribe to our Mailing List

© 2022 The Silhouette. All Rights Reserved. McMaster University's Student Newspaper.