How not to rebound on new year’s resolutions

How+not+to+rebound+on+new+year%27s+resolutions

By Ben Fox and Julia Heimlich

As the final midnight of 2012 inches closer, many people will partake in a tradition that has been around for decades. On Dec. 31, at 12 a.m., people all over the world will make New Year’s Resolutions to change the way they live, become better human beings, and be happier with their lives.

While resolutions may seem like a good idea when they first are made, it can be hard to follow up on them. According to a 2004 article from the American Psychological Association, nearly 60 percent of people drop their resolution just six months into the New Year.

“As human beings, we have a natural tendency to fall back into old habits,” said motivational speaker Lance “Claysmile” Smith, who speaks to CHS health classes.  “In order to be successful in keeping our commitments, we must do things that will keep us proactive and focused, such as reminding ourselves daily about our commitments.”

People often like to set goals to improve their well-being, education or self. These goals may include exercising more, eating nutritionally, improving grades, spending more time with family, reducing procrastination and watching less television.

“Some people fear making commitments because they feel that if they make one, they run the risk of being disappointed,” Smith said. “That is the wrong perspective. Making commitments helps us to have targets for where we want to go. Even if we experience momentary failures, we still end up getting closer to our desired outcome: much closer than we would have gotten if we did not make any commitments.”

In order to maintain a resolution, it is best to set a specific and realistic goal instead of undertaking a major change. Rather than choosing a vague resolution such as “losing weight,” work at losing five pounds by a certain point in time.

According to Smith, if looking to improve exercise habits, it is important to set aside specific times in the day for working out. Otherwise, busy schedules will prevent one from putting in the time. It is also important to find a form of exercise one enjoys because it will be easier to stick with it.

“Progress is made every time you exercise, even if you do not see it immediately,” said Smith, who is also a Zumba teacher at Lifetime Fitness in Rockville, M.D. “It takes time for progress to show up visually, but keep in mind that every time you exercise, you are getting closer to your desired outcome.”

Many CHS students are involved in making New Year’s Resolutions. CHS sophomores Olivia Whitener and Isabella Naessan-Do have a unique tradition that they do close to Dec. 31. The two girls write their resolutions down on a small piece of paper, and attach it to something they call a Resolution Tree.
“It’s basically a Christmas tree, and you take your resolution and you stick it on the tree with a safety pin,” Whitener said. “It looks really pretty, and the person who owns it can look at the resolutions later.”

According to Whitener, the Resolution Tree “cements your commitment to your resolution,” working as a reminder to follow through with whatever you resolved to do.

Last New Year’s Eve, sophomore Ximena Tellez made a resolution to stop procrastinating with her school work.

Math teacher Lois Cohen is also planning on making a resolution, in her case to gain more weight and to eat healthier. She plans on changing her daily diet in order to reach her goal.

“I want to have more energy for my students,” Cohen said. “I will cook instead of eating cereal for dinner.”

Cohen believes that resolutions are good for people, even if they don’t follow through with them.

“For most people, they are trying to be a better person, and their resolution will help them reach that goal,” Cohen said.