Students share their New Year’s resolutions and reflect on their purpose
By SABRINA FIGUEROA— firstname.lastname@example.org
For many, the new year inspires the spirit of change and the desire to turn over a new leaf. About 37% of Americans said that they had a resolution or goal they wanted to fulfill in the new year. Of those people, about 87% said they would be very likely or somewhat likely to hold their goal throughout the year.
Of people making New Year’s resolutions in the United States, 59% are young adults between the ages of 18 and 34. Thus, a college community — like UC Davis — has plenty of students with resolutions that range from becoming an “academic weapon” to finding spirituality or improving their health.
“Some of my major New Year’s resolutions are trying to apply for internships and being more active. I also want to prioritize my health more,” Elisha Navarro, a second-year neurobiology, physiology and behavior major, said. “I’m currently in my second year [of college] and I think it’s a good time to look for internship opportunities at the Internship and Career Center.”
On the other hand, Cathalina Cordero, a second-year sociology and psychology double major, is interested in tending to her spiritual side.
“I really want to grow my faith and build a healthier lifestyle. I think the two come hand in hand because, essentially, they are both to help me grow spiritually and mentally,” Cordero said.
For 2024, the top New Year’s resolutions were to improve fitness, finances and mental health. These goals were also popular among UC Davis students.
“To grow a more healthy lifestyle, I’m planning on working out and running more often,” Cordero said. “I feel like last year I was unable to really be active because of the challenges that college students face on a daily basis. [However], I think with a gym buddy and a consistent schedule, I can really improve this.”
Balancing achieving your goals with the expectations of obtaining a college degree is difficult for students because sometimes it means sacrificing one thing over another.
“School, for me, plays a part in the mental health aspect [of my health goal] because it can get stressful most of the time,” Navarro said.
Cordero suggested that time management in college is a challenge as well.
“There are so many things I could be doing throughout the day that I need or want to do. [Still], it all comes down to prioritizing what’s important: allowing for a good balance of work, school and leisure time.”
Because students have to balance class, work and social activities already, it becomes difficult for them to uphold the motivation to achieve these resolutions. However, they are not alone in this. According to a Forbes Health survey, the average resolution among Americans only lasts around 3.74 months, with 22% of the goal-setting population lasting until the three-month mark.
“Keeping myself motivated can be rough, especially after February. Those first two months of the year are usually the best because my resolutions are still fresh in my mind. It’s finding the motivation to continue those goals that’s challenging,” Cordero said.
Despite these challenges, students still find ways to keep themselves going during this tough process.
“I tell myself that if I stay consistent and pull through with my goals, then I would see results and not fall behind,” Navarro said. She continued to talk about how her new strategy of self-accountability has worked for her so far, in comparison to her 2023 New Year’s resolutions.
“I didn’t really get to achieve the majority of my goals from last year. As soon as the clock hit 12 a.m. [on January 1, 2024], I basically submitted applications for multiple internships. Right now, I currently have three internships on my plate and a healthier consistent lifestyle,” Navarro said.
Taking a different approach, Cordero suggested that most of her motivation comes from doing community service.
“Knowing that you accomplish your personal goals is one thing, but knowing that you are inspiring others to fulfill their goals and desires for their own personal growth, as well as our community’s, is a motivation that leaves me in awe,” Cordero said.
Although making New Year’s resolutions is popular in the United States, there is still a majority of 63% of Americans that don’t create any. This can be for a myriad of reasons ranging from simply not liking the idea to believing the resolutions are bound to fail.
“I don’t make resolutions. I feel like if I set specific goals for myself and then don’t reach them that would start the year off on a poor note,” Julia Carlson, a second-year sociology and psychology double-major said. “My mom sets New Year’s intentions instead, which I think is a better idea because it’s less pressure on yourself. But I didn’t do that either.”
Mia Trujillo, a second-year design major, agreed with this sentiment.
“I don’t have any [resolutions] set. I feel like setting them only makes me disappointed when I fail even just a little bit. It seems more discouraging, so instead I actively try to be better every day.”
Though inspiring, change is still hard to accomplish. Dr. Cynthia Vinney, a psychology expert writer, explains that setting goals that are too broad and difficult to achieve is a reason behind the failure and discouragement of New Year’s resolutions. This supports perspectives like Carlson and Trujillo’s.
“We need to set smaller goals along the way to be successful, like devoting five minutes a day to learning a new word or phrase. That way we can ease ourselves into the change, instead of making an overwhelming change that we probably can’t sustain, like planning to be fluent in [a] new language in four months,” Vinney said.
On top of New Year’s resolutions being big changes for some, others think that change does not need to wait for a new year to roll around.
“For me, resolutions are not worth setting. You can start new whenever,” Trujillo said. “Not every day will be perfect, but don’t let the bad days discourage you because there is always tomorrow.”
Written by: Sabrina Figueroa — email@example.com