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Denzel’s Digs: Avoiding Broken Resolutions

An unofficial survey of my friends has helped me determine the top ten most commonly broken New Year’s resolutions of high school students. They are:  

• Finish college applications 

• Procrastinate less

• Learn something new 

• Eat healthier food and diet 

• Get a job 

• Spend more time with family 

• Travel to new places 

• Be less stressed 

• Volunteer 

• Drink less soda   

Maybe our 2012 resolutions were too ambitious and unrealistic, given our already saturated habits of work and social commitments. Maybe our resolutions were the wrong options and too far from ever becoming actual outcomes. Or maybe, in my case, there was simply another agenda that intervened and took all my attention so that resolutions had to be postponed ‘til next week or next year.

According to a study by the University of Scranton, less than 10 percent of resolutions end up making it to the finish line. So don’t feel bad about any of your past letdowns.

There are a lot of reasons resolutions don’t work out, but understanding where your past resolutions came up short can go a long way towards making sure you reach your 2013 goals.

Don’t make resolutions just for the sake of making them. There’s something very symbolic about the beginning of a new year. For starters, you get to buy a fresh, new calendar. Also, you can look forward to writing the wrong date on your homework for the next three weeks. So, it’s easy to get caught up in the exciting newness and possibility of it all! … but try not to.

What I mean is, don’t tell yourself “New year, new me.” Personal growth and positive change are always welcome, but ask yourself this: “Would I be making this pledge if it were July 1 instead of January 1?” If the answer is “no,” put it on the backburner.  If your heart isn’t in it, then you’re likely setting yourself up for failure, and that’s no way to start a new year.Resolutions are goals, and goals need planning to become reality.

The trouble with resolutions is that they’re usually 100 percent result-oriented. Once you have a plan in place, you can focus on the steps in front of you, rather than a sometimes distant end-point. Focusing on the immediate — on the things you can control and change right then and there — will help see you through the rough patches you’re bound to encounter.

You can’t succeed in a vacuum.

New Year’s resolutions are usually promises we make to ourselves and ourselves alone.

We tend to shoulder those burdens alone because we believe that we should be able to handle them all by ourselves.  But while you may be able to, you don’t have to.

In most cases seeking help can make all the difference. That help could be something as small as talking to a friend about your goal and how you plan to conquer it. Just hearing a second perspective can help clarify your goals and improve your game plan.

Plus, bringing in a friend creates a sense of accountability — now that someone else knows about your resolution you’d better stick with it!

Sometimes though, you need a lot of help. When that’s the case, don’t be afraid to turn to someone with expertise in the area. If you want to lose weight, consult your physician or a personal trainer. If you want to finish those college apps, talk to our college counselors.

Whatever resolutions you make this year, make them count!  

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