New Year’s Resolutions: Just making them makes a difference

Written by: 
Sydney Odell~Multimedia Journalist

Creating New Year’s resolutions is an age-old tradition to set goals in hopes of initiating positive changes in ones’ life to take advantage of the promise of the New Year. BYU-Hawaii students said they make New Year’s resolutions to help them reach goals and improve themselves.

“I think they are very helpful as they give direction and guidance,” said David Whippy, a senior in psychology from Fiji. He said he appreciates the fresh start New Year’s resolutions give and argues for their place in modern-day society. “These goals and commitments help us map out things that we want to achieve during the coming year.” He went on to explain “although at first these goals may seem realistic as our motivation is high, generally many New Year’s resolutions fall short of our expectations.” Whippy said, “Usually I start the year strong, sort of stumble on the middle and try to finish strong to do what I said I would.”

According to goalsguys.com, New Year’s resolutions go back as far as the ancient Romans. The month of January was named after the ancient god Janus, the mythical king of Rome, who was always depicted with two faces. This was due to the fact that Janus was “the god of beginnings and the guardian of doors and entrances,” making him the ruling god of the New Year’s celebrations as he was able to look both back at the past year and forward to the next. The ancient Romans then aptly began making an offering to this keeper of the years at the start of each new calendar year, thereby starting the first New Year’s tradition of setting a resolution for the coming season. While the actual celebration date of the New Year varies from culture to culture, the celebration of this new beginning holiday is shared amongst them all.

Today the event has come to be a sign of good tidings and a commitment to strengthen personal willpower in the hopes that the resolutions made will create a habitual act to be kept the entire yearlong. Some of America’s most popular resolutions, according to usa.gov, include getting out of debt, quitting smoking, losing weight, and getting more organized. However as with any new endeavor, there is always the possibility that the resolution might fail making people skeptical about why they set these goals in the first place. Proactive Change, a site that researched the success of people’s yearly goals, found that 40-to-45 percent of American adults make New Year’s resolutions, however only 46 percent stay consistent after six months. But don’t fear just yet, as it also says making resolutions is useful because “people who explicitly make resolutions are 10 times more likely to attain their goals than people who don't explicitly make resolutions.”

Jake Everts, a senior in ICS: Anthropology from California, is skeptical about the effectiveness of New Year’s resolutions. “They only work if you follow up and have a detailed month to month or week to week plan,” he said. “Vague goals are useless and will just result in feeling bad when you don't achieve them. Also recognize that some goals will have to be modified because of the agency of others. Also it helps if you ask a friend to follow up with you.”

Efrain Elias Ramos Zuñiga, a junior in IT from Mexico, remains rather positive about his yearly goals. “I can honestly say that I kept almost all my resolutions of the last year and learned a lot in the process,” he said as he looks towards another successful year. “In this new year, my resolutions are school and spiritual related. I'd like to improve my GPA through my participation and involvement in class as well as learning how to play the guitar and being closer to God.”