Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

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October 4, 2022

Create habits and resolve resolutions

Anuja Manjrekar

Although the start of a new year symbolizes a clean slate and room for personal development, successful New Year’s resolutions rely heavily on genuine motivation and realism. Unfortunately, I have failed to accomplish my resolutions nearly every year, believing that I could attain my goals through optimism and wishful thinking. 

Creating resolutions is always exciting. I think about all the experiences, friends and academic achievements I’ll make in the New Year, but by listing so many goals, I quickly spread myself too thin. Resolutions aren’t difficult to come up with; the problem lies in actually fulfilling the goal. While improvement is beneficial, we often overburden ourselves with high expectations. 

“I don’t usually make New Year’s resolutions because I know I won’t just change my habits the second a new year starts…I need time to build that,” said kinesiology sophomore Sylvia Zhao. “Slowly incorporate (resolutions) into your routine so you don’t feel the looming pressure of a certain timeline you have to abide by.”

If you came up with a broad goal, consider pursuing a handful of modest goals that will allow you to focus on what’s truly important. For example, my resolution this year is to get more involved at UT outside of the classroom. Although this aim may seem broad, I have narrowed my goal down to specific ‘missions’ to make the change more feasible. 

So far, I have started running six miles a week with the Texas Running Club and begun rushing for a business organization. Since these two activities are concise and manageable ways to increase campus involvement, I have been able to put my full effort into both of them. 

When narrowing goals, also ensure they are ‘SMART’ —  specific, measurable, action-oriented, realistic and time-bound. Write down your goals according to the SMART criteria to create a visual, clear-cut timeline. The Sanger Learning Center emphasizes the SMART plan as an effective study strategy that assists with planning to accomplish one’s goals.  

“What I’ve noticed with myself is the expectation of perfection, you can’t expect to be perfect, but you can expect to make progress,” said Maya Pai, a communications and leadership and human dimensions of organizations sophomore. “You can’t put so much expectation and pressure on yourself to complete (resolutions) because that’s bound to fail.”

It can be difficult to consistently pursue your goals when you set unrealistically high expectations for yourself. This is especially evident for gym-related resolutions. On Jan. 1, we see all the resolutionists who fizzle out by February or March.  

Don’t let setbacks bog you down. Instead, be more strategic in your goal-setting by embracing the SMART method or talking through your strategy with others.  

For many, resolutions are like habits. Remember that creating a habit requires frequent repetition. Furthermore, while habits can take small or large amounts of time to develop, understanding how you react to consistent repetition is incredibly important. 

Instead of practicing an all-or-nothing mentality for New Year’s resolutions, try to go easy on yourself. Although it can feel demotivating when your resolutions don’t come to fruition, learn to celebrate progress and learn from setbacks. Otherwise, our beloved New Year’s resolutions might end up being doomed from the very start. 

Shenoy is an economics sophomore from Houston, Texas. 

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