New Year’s Resolutions: Battling the Odds

A common tradition at the start of the year is to make a New Year’s resolution.

According to the History Channel, this tradition started long ago when Babylonians and Romans made promises to their gods at the beginning of each year. Today, at the start of the 21st century, a recent survey conducted by Statistic Brain says that about 41 percent of Americans make New Year’s resolutions and only about 12 percent manage to stick to them through the year.

High school Math teacher Terence Li falls into the majority group who don’t make resolutions. He observed, “People are creatures of habit, and real change is difficult. It’s a reality that has to be addressed before taking on a resolution.” However, this year, Li made an exception because a sermon at church challenged him to make one. His resolution is to pray for his students before every class and to bring Jesus’ light, peace and presence into the classroom. He added, “I want to teach with God’s strength and wisdom, being a Christian in mind, and not only as a teacher.” Li admitted that he failed to pray for his students in the first few days of the new year but said he will improve on it.

A recent survey conducted by Statistic Brain says that about 41 percent of Americans make New Year’s resolutions and only about 12 percent manage to stick to them through the year.

The most common reason for people to fail on their resolutions is unrealistic goals. It is also common for people to lose track or forget what they resolved to do in the first place. The Statistic Brain survey reported that one in ten people admitted that they have made too many resolutions.

Freshman Michael Garces, who resolved to start a YouTube channel this year, said, “I believe in making a New Year’s resolution because it’s good to have goals throughout the year and complete them before the next year comes around. But it depends because some people say they are going to make a New Year’s resolution but they don’t strive to complete it. It’s like, why do they even make one in the first place?”

According to Statistic Brain, the top three 2017 New Year’s resolutions are to lose weight, to self improve and to make better financial decisions. Some tips the site offered encouraged people to focus on the positive end of things and not think of the things they don’t like or things they should be doing. Commitment and willpower goes a long way in achieving goals.

At the start of the year, sophomore Connor Lopes set out to do better academically this semester and next. He explained, “I have to be more committed to my school work and will do whatever it takes to do good. If I have to go in during lunch or after school for extra help, I am willing to spend the extra time to do better.” He added, “I like to make resolutions that last and can’t be completed in one week because I think it’s more true to the meaning of a New Year’s resolution.”

Like Lopes, many HBA students resolve to do better at school at the start of a new year. Even though freshman Isaiah Wong did not make a resolution this year, he said making one last year helped him meet his goals. “I did not make a resolution this year because I couldn’t think of one,” he said. “Last year, my resolution was to make it through middle school and it came true. My grades went up by studying more and I went in for help to learn. I wouldn’t be here at HBA if I failed middle school and I’m glad I passed.”

Senior Christopher Kwan, with graduation and college applications in mind, said, “I like looking forward to the New Year by making a resolution. My resolution is to pass all of my classes and graduate. I can achieve this by turning in all my homework on time. I am shooting for a three on my AP exams but could get a four if I’m lucky.” Last year, Kwan made a non-school related resolution that proved to be a challenge: to watch a hundred different series of anime. He said he juggled homework and free time very poorly and did not reach his goal, watching only 96 of them. Kwan added, “Resolutions only work if you stick to them and not give up halfway.”

For Science teacher Risha Mishima, New Year’s resolutions are helpful because they set people up to feel a sense of accomplishment. She said, “Resolutions can be a good thing because people have a goal in mind that the are trying to reach. For people that have a big goal, they [can] have a nice reward..not necessarily a physical reward but more of a emotional or internal reward. Even for those who have a small resolution, they can feel that they have accomplished something this year.” Mishima also offered some advice: “If you resolve to a diet to cut out certain foods as like chocolate or sweets, do something about it [rather than just] say that you have this resolution.”

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