New Year resolutions

As we near the end of January, it seems hard to believe that Christmas was only a few weeks ago. For many people including students, the build up to Christmas is quite stressful and therefore the opportunity to relax, over indulge and generally switch off from work is too great a temptation.

As we all know the new term comes round all too quickly and we have to face reality. It is at this point that the guilt kicks in and we start to think about things that we will do differently in the New Year.

The phrase ‘New Year’s Resolution’ is one that brings hope and dread in equal measure. Regardless of whether your resolution is one of the more obvious challenges such as ‘lose weight’ and ‘drink less’ or the more obscure such as ‘spend more time with the family’, the real question is whether or not you will be able to sustain the promise to yourself.

In a recent survey the average length of time a person can expect to keep their promise to themselves is 24 days. Approximately a quarter of resolutions will be broken by the end of the first week. The chances of success then improve dramatically as 95% of people who beat the first week’s challenge, will then keep going until the end of January. However, by the Summer I’m afraid only 46% of people manage to sustain this commitment.

For my part, I committed to doing a minimum of two exercise sessions per week, partly because I want to get fitter and get rid of the Christmas turkey but mainly because I know how much better I feel mentally when I set the time aside to exercise. I am not one of those people who is a natural athlete, who enjoys strenuous workouts, but to my surprise the more I do it, the easier it becomes both physically and mentally. 

Even though we are still quite early in the year, I have found this to be a difficult challenge. For me, the New Year’s Resolution is more about will power and determination to succeed than the specific resolution. Someone once told me ‘Whatever doesn’t challenge you, doesn’t change you’, and I believe this is true of any goal that you set for yourself, whether it is academic or physical.