The key to cracking New Year’s resolutions? Be realistic

As Cy Creek welcomes the 2023 year, its students have prepared to start the new year positively; many students have set up new resolutions. New Year’s Resolutions allow students to set personal goals for the new year. As the new year starts, students see this as a way to start the year off right.

A survey by Forbes revealed that Gen Z feels the most pressure to set resolutions. Gen Z currently consists of anyone between the ages of 11 and 26. As of 2023, 23 percent of people who answered the survey reported that mental health was their priority, while 16 percent said physical health was their concern. According to Forbes and YouGovAmerica, specific resolutions are more popular. The most popular resolutions include improved physical health, mental health, saving money, and eating healthier.

Junior Fernando Hernandez is determined to start the new year off right.

“I want to do better this semester academically, mentally, and physically,” Hernandez said.

Hernandez works at Whataburger five days a week and feels like he could have done more academically last year but felt burnt out near the end.

“Last semester was underwhelming. I feel like towards the end I crashed,” Hernandez said. Hernandez believes that multiple students went through a similar burnout at the end of the semester. “A lot of students also felt very burnt out last semester. Especially for juniors and seniors,” Hernandez said.

Junior Mickailah Duverne says she also felt stressed out last semester.

“I was really stressed out last year, but it has definitely gotten better because I am working on not procrastinating,” Duverne said.

Duverne, much like Hernandez, shares a similar resolution of doing better academically this semester.

“I want to do better academically this year; I am striving for all A’s this semester,” said Duverne.

According to an article published by Psychology Today written by Suzanne Bender, M.D., many students burn themselves out from their school workload. Students like Hernandez have realized this and are working to minimize the stress through their resolutions.

One resolution Hernandez has set for himself is to talk to his managers at his job to make more time for school and to allow himself some leeway in his personal life.

“I have worked on my work schedule to have more time for school this semester,” said Hernandez.

As Gen Z feels the most pressure to set resolutions for the new year, they could begin to feel overwhelmed. Hernandez suggests keeping a planner to organize their resolutions to combat those feelings.

“Try to focus on the things important to you,” Hernandez said.

Often we need to work on resolutions and set near-impossible tasks for ourselves, leading to most people dropping their resolutions. An article published by Time by Jay Van Bavel and Dominic Packer revealed that 80 percent of people give up their resolutions, and only eight percent of people keep their resolutions throughout the year. Hernandez understands those odds are daunting and suggests that others accept help.

“It is ok to ask for help every now and then not to feel overwhelmed and ultimately break down,” said Hernandez.

It is essential to take these resolutions one at a time and not to go crazy with them, suggests Hernandez.

As one of the Silverados, Duverne has learned how to prioritize her time effectively, and she suggests building a routine around your resolutions.

“Just stay as focused as possible and build a routine and stick to it,” said Duverne.

Typically self-control is what leads to most people dropping their resolutions. Researchers conducted 102 studies published in Sage Journals; one key idea popped up more than others regarding self-control. In these studies, researchers revealed that a “situation-change” strategy had been the most effective way of showing self-control.

One mentality people tend to adopt when it comes to self-control is to tempt themselves to strengthen their willpower. According to the studies, however, it was revealed that removing those temptations works the best. Situation change leaves matters in your own hands. By changing your situation, you reduce your exposure to things that could lead you to fail your resolution. For example, if someone is dieting or cutting out sugar, they should remove any sugary foods from their diet and kitchen as much as possible. In those 102 studies conducted, they found that norms trumped personal plans.

During the study, researchers presented two classes on the same subject during the study and two plans for reducing phone use. One class established a social norm of not using phones during class, while the other presented a personal plan for students to follow individually. By the end of the study, it was clear that the class that accepted no phones as their norm was more successful in reducing their screen time.

“People who were in a group with healthier social norms also reported fewer urges to engage with their phone or computer during class. Tempting thoughts came less frequently to mind. The need for sheer willpower was lessened,” researcher Roy Baumeister said.

Surrounding yourself with like-minded people can make your resolution fun and easy. Surrounding yourself with others who share similar resolutions or setting up a buddy system can help to keep new year’s resolutions. An article published by VeryWellMind Kendra Cherry discusses how students can keep their goals. Cherry focuses on the buddy system, where one relies on their family and close friends to help them keep their resolutions. A support system of like-minded friends and family can help you stay motivated and focused.

Everyone has reasons for setting these resolutions this year, whether their goal is to eat healthily or raise their grades. Whatever resolution you set for yourself, remember that this goal-setting tradition does not have to end in disappointment. Often the difference between succeeding in your resolution and failing is by choosing the correct resolution(s) and the proper process or routine for completing it.

Most importantly, remember to be kind to yourself and celebrate the small victories during your journey.