New Year’s resolutions: Do they work?

Erin Gutschke | Mercury Staff

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“New year, new me” usually comes along with the dozens of resolutions people set for themselves in January. But how many of these resolutions do they keep up with, and are they empty promises for change?

The Mercury conducted a poll and found that 25 students out of the 31 respondents stated that they do have resolutions for 2024. The most popular resolutions for students are academic and health-related. In the poll, 93% of respondents selected that they create resolutions related to health, such as losing weight, gaining muscle or being more active. Sixty three percent of poll respondents selected resolutions related to academics, such as getting better grades or landing an internship.

Forty one percent of poll respondents selected resolutions related to financial security, and 26% of poll respondents selected material wealth, such as getting a car or nice clothes, as a resolution. Lastly, 26% of respondents chose the option of ‘other’ if their resolutions did not fall under the previous categories.

Coordinator of Recreational Sports Zachary Jones, said he notices an influx of students at the gym at the beginning of each year, but by February or March, many fall off.

“We do our best to create an open and inviting environment so any new patrons can feel comfortable and welcome in the Rec center and wish to keep coming back,” Jones said.

Academic success coach and child learning and development junior Tiffany Taylor said that students often contact success coaches at the beginning of a new semester to work on their goals.

“One thing we really work on with academic success coaching is setting smart goals,” Taylor said. “You want something that’s pushing you a little bit out of your comfort zone so you can reach a little bit farther, but you want to make sure that it’s something you can reasonably achieve, so you’re not just letting yourself down.”

Another academic success coach and AHT junior Chinwe Offoboche, said that many students wanting to better themselves academically usually do not have a clear goal in mind.

“I’ll have students who know that they’re not doing well in the class, but they can’t really figure out why, especially if they’re a student that normally does really well,” Offoboche said.

Since 63% of students wished for academic success in the new year, which included landing an internship, career consultant Jennifer Lynch said that students should use their resumes as their number one marketing tool.

“The main advice is to start now,” Lynch said. “The consultants at the University Career Center can assist students with their goal of obtaining an internship by helping them with search strategies, resume reviews, interview preparation, crafting their personal pitch and preparing for career fairs.”

Nineteen out of the 31 poll respondents responded that they make resolutions only if they can easily be completed. Furthermore, 12 respondents said they keep up with their resolutions throughout the year, while 15 said they somewhat keep up with them. Jones says that with many health-related goals, students are bound to hit a plateau or have some setbacks. However, he assures students that that is normal.

“Simply creating the habit of ‘I am going to be active every week at this specific time’ will help create consistency, and many health-related goals require consistency at the minimum to see success,” Jones said.

Offoboche said that he’s noticed students not following up with resolutions.

“And I think the number one reason is not using self-reflection skills,” Offoboche said. “If you’re making the same resolution every single year, and you’re always failing, maybe it’s time to change the way you approach that resolution.”

Resolutions are a way for people to bring about change to their lives and a fresh start to their year. However, it is important to stick to realistic goals that allow students to still enjoy themselves and not feel tied down.

“The best piece of advice I can give for goal setting is balance — finding that time to eat, sleep and have fun, that is the foundation for a successful academic career and a happy college experience,” Taylor said.


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