New Year’s resolutions: tradition or a thing of the past?

Even though it’s only just starting to feel like winter in Atlanta, 2016 is now well underway and we’re more than three weeks into the New Year. After a crazy and exciting 2015, many people chose to make the New Year special with a New Year’s resolution.

The definition of a resolution according to the dictionary is “a firm decision to do or not to do something.” The Westminster community is full of people who try to come up with important improvements to their lives, like learning a new language or trying to lose weight.

A common theme among resolutions seems to be heath, linked to diets or exercise. Studies find that 21 percent of all New Year’s resolutions are to lose weight, 14 percent are to exercise more, and seven percent are to maintain healthier eating habits.

However, a study done by Details Magazine claims that those who make fitness related goals are likely to have given up on them four times previous to making their resolutions.

“I’m trying to become a pescatarian,” said freshman Gehna Chaubal.

A pescatarian is someone who doesn’t eat meat with the exception of fish.

“My New Year’s resolution is to use my two week Class Pass before lacrosse season to get in shape,” said senior Kate Cordle.

A Class Pass is a pass that allows you to pay once and have access to a number of workout classes around Atlanta.

“I’m turning 16 this year, so my goal is to run my first full marathon,” said sophomore Iris Yin.

On the other hand, some people are trying to change their outlook or attitude on life.

“This year I want to be more positive,” said junior Joshua Pinckney.

Family is also the subject of many resolutions.

“I want to spend more time with my family and be present,” said Discovery faculty member Meghan James.

Some people want to focus on making the world a better place.

“My New Year’s resolution is to be more aware of injustice and fight against it actively,” said junior Yoon Jo.

Also, some resolutions are more academically oriented.

“My New Year’s resolution is to pass Dr. Welji’s class,” said freshman Collier Ballard.

Though a few members of the Westminster community committed themselves to new goals such as these for 2016, the trend of New Year’s resolutions no longer appears to be common anymore.

“It didn’t cross my mind,” said freshman Kate Lindgren. “The year just kind of started and I didn’t think about it.”

Less than half of Americans consistently make New Year’s resolutions. Of this group, only about eight percent of people report achieving them, according to the Statistic Brain Research Institute.

Another study by Details Magazine found that 1 in every 3 people who make New Year’s resolutions end up ditching their goals by the end of January. Common excuses include being too busy, creating an unattainable goal or giving up or not committing to the goal in the first place.

“I think they’re very difficult to stay with, and a lot of people don’t think there’s a point in making them, so they just stop,” said dean of boys Tony Souza.

New Year’s resolutions can also become goals upon which we are initially focused but then become sidetracked by other things.

“By the end of January, I always forget it,” said freshman Tara Pillai.

According to the New York Times, people who keep a New Year’s resolutions all year remain focused all year, making them into daily habits, making resolutions they aspire to rather than things they “should” do. They make sure others know to keep them accountable, and try to inspire others to do them as well.

“Making and keeping a New Year’s resolution sounds like a nice idea, but I honestly don’t have time for it,” said junior Abby Seitz.

Though goal setting is an important skill, sometimes it’s easier to make specific goals throughout the year rather than a grand resolution, which you need to accomplish over the course of twelve months. Both are ways to motivate yourself to improve in the New Year.

“It’s easier to set a goal to raise a grade a certain number of points or try to improve your free throw percentage as opposed to trying to learn a new language or something,” said freshman Assata Quinichett. “I think it’s better to make specific goals throughout the year or whenever you need to and work to achieve those rather than trying to make one big goal in honor of the New Year that you probably won’t complete anyways.”