Making New Year’s resolutions is a popular tradition that many people participate in, including many Langara College students this year.
Counsellor Tim Charters said making resolutions is a healthy part of human nature. “Human beings in general have a desire to make positive changes in their lives and to move forward,” he said.
Dietetics student Emily Falletta’s resolution is “no more Starbucks.”
“It’s expensive and not healthy for you,” she said, adding that she has not broken her resolution yet.
As to why people resort to Jan. 1 to set goals, Charters said it’s more of a “cultural idea,” and that humans place significance on dates, making New Year’s Day “hold a lot of psychological relevance.”
Student Kevin Chow’s resolution is to read more books. “I’m trying to build a habit,” Chow said.
Student Betty Chan said she didn’t bother making a resolution this year because she usually doesn’t end up following through. Her resolution last year to eat better and work out lasted an estimated two weeks.
Biomechanics student Maria Ahmed said her resolution is to be happier and she would achieve that by listening to upbeat music and going out with friends.
According to the Toronto Star, only 19 per cent of Canadians keep their resolutions the whole year.
Keeping New Year resolutions
Charters acknowledged that “behavioural change takes effort” and is often the reason many goals fall through. Besides making over-ambitious resolutions, some people make the mistake of setting goals that aren’t measurable, Charters said.
When making a goal, Charters said it’s important to stick to the SMART acronym. Goals should be specific, measurable, action oriented, realistic and time related. Incorporating these key elements will increase a person’s chance of success, he said.
Losing weight or becoming healthier is one of the most common resolutions, and Charters said it is easy to change that into a SMART goal.
“A more appropriate goal would be ‘I want to make sure I eat three different kinds of vegetables every day,’” he said.
Since Charters said making New Year resolutions has become a popular “culturally accepted practice,” it is important to make sure any goals set are realistic and measurable.
Reported by Megan Bobetsis