It’s that time of the year again. Salad sales and gym memberships are skyrocketing and the phrase “new year, new me” somehow gets woven into every conversation.
New Year’s resolutions can be a great way to improve aspects of your life, but resolutions can also often end in disappointment and negative self-image. According to U.S. News, approximately 80 percent of resolutions fail by the second week of February.
What if this year, John Brown University students focus on what positive attributes they can bring into the new year, instead of what they want to change?
“In 2018 I would like to continue to grow, adventure, cry, laugh, work hard, make new friends, and keep up relationships with the people I love and to continue to learn about who God has made me to be, and the gifts He has given me,” Alice Hardy, a junior Nursing student, said.
Hardy admitted that she has never made it past the four day mark with a resolution and thinks people should work on themselves every day of the year.
“I accomplish things so much more easily when it’s unplanned, and when I do it because I decide that it would be a good idea, rather than sitting down at the beginning of the year wondering what I should change,” Hardy said. “If a person who already has a negative self-image is making a resolution to try and make themselves better and they end up failing, that will only reaffirm their idea that they are a failure.”
Making unrealistic resolutions can be emotionally harmful, but there are even cases of goals ending in physical harm. Senior Outdoor Leadership Ministries student, Zach Grant, said that making unattainable resolutions throughout the years pushed him to injure himself.
“When I was younger I was a skinnier kid and I committed myself to working out to get buff. I ended up dislocating my shoulder because I overworked myself doing it incorrectly. I was so eager to fulfill that resolution and it ended up being self-harming,” Grant said.
Grant noted, “In some instances New Year’s resolutions are just setting you up to fail in many ways. If you go about goals outside of a resolution there is not that pressure of failure and you can adapt your goals and decide if you want to keep going.”
Despite statistics and some students’ hesitation to make resolutions, other students have seen success by making yearly changes.
Emma Pitts, a junior photography major, has made the common New Year’s resolution of getting fit and eating healthy for the past couple years. Seven years ago Pitts decided to stop drinking soda on New Year’s and to this day she only consumes about one soda a year.
Although she supports taking steps to self-improvement, Pitts recognizes that changing yourself completely should not be the goal of resolutions.
“I think it can get people down when they don’t follow through with their resolutions,” Pitts said. “Even if you don’t see success, I think it’s important to say ‘hey even if this doesn’t work out I still like who I am’. We can get caught up wishing to look like these perfect people on social media, but it’s important to stay true to who you are.”
When it comes to New Year’s resolutions, most students agreed that self-improvement can be a good thing, but should not be constrained and solely reliant on a rash decision made one day of the year.
“New Year’s resolutions often consist of a lot of absurd, unrealistic goals rather than small, achievable steps,” Colby Dolloff, a sophomore English and biblical studies major, said.
Dolloff said there are things about himself that he would like to improve on, but he also said there are many things that he would like to stay the same going into 2018. “I hope to continue approaching life with enthusiasm. I hope to continue being a source of joy and encouragement for people. I hope to continue growing in my love for God and others,” Dolloff said.