Why bother with New Year’s resolutions?

Photo courtesy: britishcouncil.org

The holiday season is historically recognized as a time of family gatherings and joy.

This season also marks the end of the calendar year. The new year calls for people to rid themselves of bad habits and practices and welcome new energy into their lives alongside the mark of the new calendar year.

New Year’s resolutions are a tradition to many, but often times are seen as ineffective fads. Researchers note that only about 9% of Americans stick to their resolutions for the calendar year.

In 2023, physical health sat at the top followed by plans to save more money, fitness goals, and dietary refinement. Research also shows that 23% of people who started resolutions quit them by the end of the first week of the new year and the numbers almost double to 43% by the end of the first month.

This trend of ditching resolutions is one that has led to widely controversial conversation on the effectiveness of New Year’s resolutions. Many people lean on the side of them being pointless, while others stand firm on the benefit of creating one.

Tamia Dillard, a second-year biomedical engineering major, shared her disdain for the trend of people creating New Year’s resolutions.

“I think while it can be beneficial for people to set goals and strive to be goal oriented, I do believe that resolutions can be oftentimes used as excuse to wait to do whatever they need in the new year instead of tackling them head on in the present,” she said.

When asked about her experiences seeing her peers create resolutions she said, “I know plenty of people who set New Year’s resolutions in order, but they all usually stay through January and possibly February, but after that things don’t tend to work out.”

Dillard’s disbelief in the trend were seconded by senior computer science major Zay Thomas.

”I feel like people start off wrong by creating these grandiose resolutions. That is the first way to overwhelm yourself back into old habit,” Thomas said.

In agreement with her fellow computer science colleague, Ekemini Essen expressed her experience finding a use for New Year’s resolutions.

“For me, it’s a mindset thing. In the new year, I made a resolution to stop being so pessimistic. I was a gradual thing that I could hold myself accountable for and it seems to be paying off.”

The New Year is almost upon us and New Year’s resolutions will remain a mainstay in American culture and the conversation about its effectiveness will continue to grow. We will see where the statistics lie around the holiday season in the upcoming year. Made with good intentions in mind, these resolutions seem to always fall short. Which begs the question: what will make the commitment numbers trend up or are we just creatures of habit?