Every year, when the 1st of January arrives, we reflect on the past year and who we have become, considering what it is we would like to change. Some say nothing, some say whatever will be, will be, but the majority of us make a New Years resolution that we are determined to stick to. Yet, somehow after only a few days, we revert back to our old ways and our New Years resolution is but a withering flower… How can we overcome this problem? Read on to find out…

What actually is a resolution and why are we so set in making one, although we know it will soon be broken? 

 

A New Years resolution is a promise of self-improvement or a decision to do something generous, giving back to our community. Resolutions originated with the Romans, who made promises to the God Janus, for whom the month January is named after, expressing their gratitude.

 

Following this, in the medieval era the knights made a “peacock vow” at the end of Christmas to reaffirm their commitment to the chivalry. This acted as a sign of their dedication. Additionally, New Year’s resolutions in fact partly came from the Lenten sacrifices and the need to annually reflect on self improvement. 

 

We may ask what should we set ourselves to do? Therefore it may be helpful to consider the most popular resolutions of modern day society.

 

One of the most commonly set goals is to improve physical well-being, such as, losing weight, eating healthily, drinking less alcohol or quitting smoking. This is closely followed by the next most popular goal, to improve finances by sorting out your economic situation and repaying any debts. Another prominent choice is the decision to improve mental well-being by thinking more positively, laughing more frequently and just enjoying life more all round. 

 

It is interesting to consider whether these goals are realistically what the majority of us set out to achieve. Do the resolutions of us here at Surrey correlate with those stated as the most popular targets? Here are the responses of some of our fellow Surrey students: 

 

Emily Norman, Biochemistry, First year:

attend more of the open-dance classes and probably try to eat less food” 

Dan Gallagher, Economics, Final year: 

I guess mine would be to learn my course at the same time as lectures rather than all a month before exams “

Yasmin Beckett, Entrepreneurship, PhD:

To do one pull up in 2017, and work hard in my masters”

Lydia Wright, English with Creative writing, Final Year:

Yeh, definitely to do one unassisted pull up, to get abs and have a happy relationship with my boyfriend” 

 

As we can see, nobody has the same target for the new year. It’s all about doing what will make you happy, and what will improve you as an individual in a constructive way. Therefore don’t go out of your way to force yourself into making an unachievable change. Do something effective and beneficial that you can sustain and will give you a solid sense of satisfaction when you reflect on the transition of improvement you have made since the start of 2017.

 

We may all, most commonly, set physical, psychological or financial targets, but it is how these are tailored to our lives that varies for each individual. Therefore, don’t set the same goal as someone else as you feel it is the right aim to set. Do something that realistically works for you and you feel motivated to sustain. 

 

Reflect today and decide what improvement you will make in 2017!

Words by Hannah

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