Ask Emily: New Year Resolutions

by Emily Hussey

opinions editor

Welcome to Ask Emily, where I give my opinions on anything you want to hear. This week I discuss New Year resolutions. Have a question for me and want to possibly see it answered in a future edition of the P&W? You can submit your questions here: Happy asking!

Q: Every time I make a new year resolution, I fail. How can I change that this year?

A: I’ve always been a fan of new year resolutions for the same reason I love birthdays. It is so comforting to have a fresh start. It’s a perfect time to form new healthy habits and start bettering ourselves in general. The problem with new year resolutions is that there is so much expectation that is inherently comes with it. For example, if you make a vow to start meditating three times a week, and then miss a day, it is human inclination to immediately want to abandon the goal completely. It takes a certain kind of willpower and determination to say, “Even if I mess up, I’m going to stick to my goal.” As humans, we don’t like failure. We often have an “all-or-nothing” approach. Either I’m going to be vegan, or eat fried food every day. Either I’m going to have straight A’s, or I’m going to not care about school at all. Moderation is hard for us, but I believe understanding and embracing moderation is the way to get the most out of your new year goals.

My advice for new year resolutions is to be as specific as possible, and to not put too much pressure on yourself on January 1st. As cliche as it sounds, life is a journey. Slow and comfortable transformations into good habits are ones that stick. Giving up caffeine is a good example. Anyone who drinks coffee every day knows that going cold turkey does not work. Studies have shown that slowly but surely reducing your caffeine intake is the best way to be successful in that endeavor. Things take time; trying to completely flip your habits the first day of 2016 probably will not amount to anything except disappointment.