Published by the Students of Johns Hopkins since 1896
June 22, 2024

New year, new (and sustainable!) goals

By TANVI NARVEKAR | February 3, 2023

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PUBLIC DOMAN Narvekar offers tips on how to stick to your New Year's resolutions beyond the month of January.

It’s February, and, as always, some of us are feeling behind on last month’s New Year’s resolutions. Change is hard to make, and it’s an accomplishment to even want to make a change in the first place. Going on social media and seeing everyone else’s goals adds pressure to making the “right” goals or wanting change fast. 

I have some of my own New Year’s goals too. However, I promised myself that I would go at my own pace while holding myself accountable. For example, one of my goals this year is to sleep earlier and get up earlier. It’s been difficult to accomplish this after years of being a night owl, but I have to remind myself that change takes time. Circadian rhythms need time to change...

You don’t have to celebrate the new year by making resolutions, but if you want to, it’s best to make them in a healthy way! Some of the tips below seem intuitive or obvious, but it’s easy to forget them. Here’s what I have learned after trying to work on my New Year’s resolutions so far:

Do: 

  • Make goals that are meaningful to you.
    • The goals that we make should be personalized for ourselves. Making goals that are meaningful to you helps give you a reason to follow through with them. 
  • Be patient with yourself when starting to make changes. 
    • As mentioned, all goals take time and may not show results at first. Be patient with yourself as you make the effort to change. On the same note, don’t expect the results to be apparent right away.
  • Make a sustainable and healthy plan for attaining success with your goal.
    • Creating long-term, long-lasting change can’t be rushed. Rushing into change in an unhealthy way will most likely hinder your progress in the future.
  • Hold yourself accountable for falling behind on your goals without being too hard on yourself.
    • If you’re having trouble making changes and staying consistent, you might need to have an honest conversation with yourself about how you can improve. Being honest doesn’t mean you have to beat yourself up. It just means that you have to recognize any problems in your journey.

Don’t: 

  • Make huge goals without smaller milestones for completing them.
    • Although it seems intuitive, we often put too much pressure on ourselves to achieve a bigger goal fast without thinking about how much gradual progress we’ve made. Rather than solely focusing on the end result, we can set steps for ourselves along the way. This way, making change is less overwhelming.
  • Make goals based on somebody else’s goals or some social standard without any intrinsic desire.
    • This is definitely something that seems very obvious, but at times we forget how powerful the influence of other people can be on us, even if it’s indirect. On TikTok, I see many creators push certain goals, and it can feel as though these goals are something you must take on. Goals and resolutions should have a personal element and should be made because you have a reason for them.
  • Be pressured to buy things only because they promise change.
    • So many creators push products like supplements and products they claim are helpful for achieving a certain goal. Although it seems like they’re providing answers and solutions, not all these things are needed to make a change, nor will they guarantee change. Make a conscious decision about what you’re buying and whether you actually need or want them for your goals!
  • Rush change.
    • Although we all want to make changes fast, most New Year’s resolutions or larger goals require time and consistency. Don’t set an unreasonable schedule for change that will only overwhelm you. Not overwhelming yourself will be a great way to ensure that you stick to the habit and make the change.

Good luck with your resolutions!


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