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“You say you want a resolution well, you know, we all wanna change the world”

December 30, 2009

New Year’s – Resolutions…
most people who make them fail to keep them or to reach their goals. On the other hand, those that make them are 10 times more likely to reach their goals or change behaviors then those that don’t make a formal New Year’s Resolution. Among those people who make formal New Year’s Resolutions 46% of them have kept up with their goals six months later. So, if only for six months you improve some aspect of your life – this sounds like a win/win. If you think about a change you want to make but don’t actually make a New Year’s Resolution you are in good company but only 4% of you will reach that goal (a study led by Dr. Norcross published in the Journal of Clinical Psychology in 2002).

  • So what does work? – write down every day what you’ve done. Make a specific plan – the more detail the better. “Study more” won’t cut it but making a daily schedule and carving out specific times you’ll study and where you’ll study will give you a better shot at success.
  • Break it down – “I’ll get a 3.0 at the end of this next semester” although an admirable goal won’t help you do better unless you break it down…Does this mean you could get a 2.0 in English as long as you got that 4.0 in bio? Or does it mean try and get at least a B in all your subjects?
  • When you’re listing your resolutions why not jot down a few thoughts about why this is a resolution and why it just isn’t happening on its own. For me back in college I might have written as a resolution: “I will Pass bio with a B or better”. Next to this resolution I would’ve had to write, if I were being honest, “This is a resolution because last semester when I took Bio I got a D because I didn’t go to all my classes and didn’t study enough”
  • What are you actually going to change to ensure success? Are you going to continue to try to study in your apartment after work when your housemates are partying? Maybe you could use the break between your morning classes and afternoon math class to study since all you do is hang out in the cafeteria talking to your friends and playing with your Nintendo DS. And finally, really think about the positives of reaching this goal and think about them a lot to reinforce your new behaviors.
  • You might also want to include who could help you with this like the Writing Center, my brother, and how you might know it’s time to ask for help. So, so far a first resolution might look like this:

Resolution # 1: Pass Biology with a B or better.

Why a resolution? I took it last semester and got a D. I missed a lot of classes and didn’t study unless there was a test and then I crammed.

Who could help me? I could go to the LAC and see what services they have for me. I could ask my roommate to turn his music down at 9pm when I’m trying to study. Or, if I live at home I could ask my parents for a pass on the house chores the week I have a test so I can study more. I could let my best friend know that I’m really trying to change something and ask them to not make jokes about me being a grind when I say I can’t go out for beer pong.

What will I change? I will study in between classes in the library. I won’t take my Nintendo DS with me to school.

Why do I want to do this again? I will get a better grade and my GPA will increase giving me more options for a four year school. I would like to know if I can do this so I’ll have more confidence about my goal of getting a bachelors. Whatever habits I develop in pursuit of this B will pay off in other courses.

GOOD LUCK! Here’s a cool idea…

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