“5…4…3…2…1…Happy New Year!” The shouts, hoots and hollers, the sounds of people bursting into tears over thankfully making it into the New Year and the loud bangs of fireworks colouring the sky; a familiar scene across the world as midnight strikes the clock, welcoming a clean canvas.

With the beginning of each year, the buzz and excitement gravitates towards a fresh start and making the most of it. #NewYearNewMe, has increasingly become the trend to follow over social media, as individuals set goals and resolutions that they hope to have achieved by the year end.

If you were like me, and each year having no “New Year Resolutions”, taking each day as it comes, then maybe it is time to reconsider.

After having an extensive debate with a close friend over goals and ‘New Year Resolutions’ as well as whether or not it was worth the emotional rollercoaster – because let us be honest, how many people do you know that have kept up with their “New Year’s Resolutions”? It then occurred to me that I did not know what a goal and resolution was.

By definition, a resolution is “a firm decision to do or not to do something”, while a goal is a “desired end result or possible outcome that an individual aims to achieve”. With this definition of a resolution, it brings up the idea that we have resolutions daily, whereas goals are the objectives we hope to ultimately achieve. Despite having a slight difference in time management, both goals and resolutions tend towards completing said tasks.

“This year I want to get distinctions for all my subjects”, “This year I want to lose weight” and “This year I want to quit smoking”, are some of the wold’s most common New Year resolutions, that usually end as quickly as the midnight display of fireworks which sparked them.

Statistics show that 75% of resolutions made at the beginning of the year, are kept beyond the first week of January, 46% make it past 6 months, and only 6% are carried to the end of the year.

This clearly showed that individuals were only enthusiastic about their resolutions at the beginning of the year and had little motivation to carry them through, when reality sets in.

After learning these facts, the first question that came to mind is what causes this decline in enthusiasm and more specifically how can we ensure that we stay committed to not only our New Year Resolutions but our goals too.

There can be many contributing reasons to the failure of goals and resolutions; the bar may be set too high, individuals may find themselves in demotivating environments, and the goals may have been set in situations where the individuals where not entirely certain about the work it takes to achieve them.

However, no matter the tone in which goals are set, no one can deny the satisfaction of a goal achieved.

Yes, it requires a lot of hard work to study through long nights while friends go out. Yes, the temptation of a quick cigarette drag after a long day may be overwhelming and everyone knows how the double chocolate cake calls your name as you walk by. However, by giving into the short-term satisfaction will not in any way help to achieve the long-term goal.

So how do we ensure we achieve our goals and come out on top?

  • Set realistic goals, there is no use in setting the same goals every year in hopes that a little fairy-tale dust will make things different
  • Goals and resolutions should be time bound. By setting goals that have to be completed in a set period, chances of achieving them increase significantly.
  • Surround yourself with people who will support you when you fall off the wagon
  • Have milestones along the way where you will reward yourself
  • Always look on the bright side, and have plenty of fun. So you can’t have the chocolate cake, but at the end of it you will look just as yummy

Deciding to embark on a journey towards a goal, requires a lot of hard work and commitment, however, keep in mind that reaching a destination is not always as important as the journey itself.

Stick to your plans and always keep the end goal in sight, while occasionally stopping to smell the roses.

As Henry Thoreau said, “What you get by achieving your goal is not as important as what you become by achieving your goals”

Just think about it, after all that hard work you get to have some chocolate. Go on, you earned it.

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