Commitment in the new year

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(Graphic: Porsha Allen/City College News)

By Kassidy Curry/[email protected]
Arts Editor

It’s 2015 which means a new calendar hung upon the wall. Empty dates wait to be filled with pen scratches, “Meagan’s @ 7,” or “Meeting with Mr. Smith.” And just as such, notebooks and post-its wait to be marked up in lists of goals and desires all to be completed within these following twelve months.

According to a study done by the University of Scranton in Pennsylvania, 45 percent of Americans usually make New Year’s resolutions. However, only 8 percent of people are successful in achieving their resolution.

“Make school and work a happy journey, to do my best, respect and treat my friends well, to share brotherly love, feel the beauty and positive energy around me regardless of what happens around me, and to be connected with life,” said student Juan Cuxil in regards to his New Year’s resolutions.

So what are the main components of a successful resolution? One tip often given is creating a realistic and diligent plan. When you have a concrete plan, it’s easier to follow a path. Without it, you’re throwing yourself into a pool of your own expectations without knowing how to swim.

“We say if you can’t measure it, it’s not a very good resolution because vague goals beget vague resolutions,” John Norcross of the University of Scranton told Forbes Magazine.

Another tip would be to make sure that you are being realistic. If you give yourself a goal that you know is going to be very difficult to achieve, if not even completely unattainable, then you might be setting yourself up for disappointment. It’s better to give yourself easier goals that you know you could complete.

“Set a small goal and make sure you have a specific plan and time set aside to work at it,” said Troy Dvorak, an adjunct faculty member in the MCTC Psychology department. “Accomplishing goals takes practice. Start small. Think of one little thing you’d like to get done this week and do it.”

It’s better not to have your expectations set too high as well. Even if the goal itself is realistic, it has to be achievable with the time you give yourself as well.

“Weight loss is a good example for all goal setting,” said MCTC Psychology professor Lynn Coffey. “It’s got to be a slow and gradual process.”

According to Coffey, the piece people have the hardest time with is focus and commitment. If the target you’re trying to reach is that important to you, then it’s up to you to make sure it gets done. Who’s to say that this is a once a year thing? If you’re looking to improve any aspect of your life, then why can’t your notebooks and post-its be marked up year-round?

“You’ve got to ask yourself, why are you waiting for New Years to do it?” said Coffey. “Why does it have to be Jan. 1?”