US News reports that “Research in the Journal of Clinical Psychology has found that only 64 percent of New Year’s resolutions are maintained after one month and, six months later, less than half still stand.” Alright, fess up. How many of you have fallen off the wagon? I’ll admit that I made quite a few New Years’ resolutions and none of them have lasted until now.
But there’s still hope! According to Linda Blair’s article in the guardian, “Summer resolutions stand a better chance of being fulfilled than New Year ones” for many reasons. Primarily, it is because you are already halfway through the year, which means that you are much more likely to realize the mistakes you made in the beginning of the year and learn from them going forward. In addition, your immune system is healthier thanks to the better summer weather and increased sun exposure (as opposed to the dreary winter months that follow New Years); dark and cold days don’t exactly motivate you to get out from under the covers and off the couch to go to the gym.
Regardless of your concrete summer plans (whether that’s an internship, summer job, travel, work or study abroad, catching up on credits by taking summer classes, etc) my guess is that you’ve made some resolutions for personal improvement. For instance, this summer I would like to read a handful of various novels and New Yorker articles that have been accumulating on my desk, watch Ted Talks and Mad Men, work on my website and research careers, take time to relax and travel, and exercise. The list seems like it is never ending. Yet, these are all activities that I genuinely want to do but did not have time to do during the school year. The best part about my goals is that I get to decide when to do all these things; no one is forcing a deadline on me (besides the obvious start of the fall term in September). However, maybe this is the downfall. Perhaps we don’t follow through on all of our resolutions (regardless of when we make them) just because it is dependent on our own discipline.
As far as this summer goes, I won’t be heartbroken if I don’t get to everything on my list of goals. I think what matters more than merely staying disciplined for the sake of it is that I utilize my time doing the things I wanted to do when I didn’t have the time to while I was in school. But for those who are truly dedicated to their goals: do you need some tools to help you stay on track? The US News article that I referenced earlier suggests that being as specific as you can with your goals will make it easier to follow through with them, sharing your goals with other people will also help you stay committed, and breaking down your goals into smaller, more manageable chunks will reinforce your interest in your goals because your successes will be more frequent.
Have a great summer everyone!
By: Rachel Blanzy
(Photo by merfam under a Creative Commons License)