With school back in session students stay firm in resolutions
When the clock struck midnight this New Year’s Eve you might have been engaged in celebration, joyous revelry or even some downright debauched partying. It was all in good fun; just letting loose and indulging because afterwards it was time to roll up your sleeves and start abiding by all those new year’s resolutions you made. You know, the ones about collecting all the foreign objects under your couch cushions and winning the wars on poverty, drugs and terrorism all in one fell swoop? Or maybe your goals weren’t so ambitious.
Either way, New Year’s resolutions are easier said than done. Without self-discipline and will power, any resolution is merely wishful thinking and a lungful of hot air. So, what can you do to ensure a successful resolution?
Denyse Nizam, a senior MCDB major at CU, knows that time management is crucial to upholding her vows. This year Nizam plans to exercise and study more.
“I have a lot of tests, so if I get too busy I don’t have time to exercise. So, I guess the two interfere with each other,” says Nizam, who is already two weeks into the year and still firm in her resolve.
For Nizam, reasonable scheduling is the key to time management. It’s a matter of prioritizing between her activities to find that delicate balance. Another resolution that Nizam made, though related to time management in a more indirect way, is to “cut contact with losers.”
“I have a problem with people who don’t follow through so I deleted them-they’re out of my phone,” says Nizam. Whatever it takes to stay focused.
While Nizam may be taking her own advice by following through so forcefully, the prospect of failure is enough to deter many CU students from even making a resolution.
“I would rather keep doing what I know I should be doing than make a promise that I know I might break,” says Michelle Graham, a sophmore journalism major. This may sound like a common defeatist attitude, but Michelle and many other resolutionless CU students simply have faith in their own motivation.
“People tend to overestimate how much will power they will have in the “heat of the moment” and so routinely put themselves in situations where they find themselves with unexpectedly limited self-control,” says Leaf Van Boven, assistant professor of pyschology at CU. “For instance, if you vow to drink less but then leave that behavior change to will power alone, you may find yourself losing control. The problem is that the “cool,” rational system underestimates the potency of the “hot” emotional system,” says Van Boven.
Maybe all that talk about cleaning your couch was just the champagne talking. But wait, there’s still hope!
Van Boven offers a simple yet powerful suggestion: “One way that people can successfully deal with limited will power is to employ self-control devices. For instance, if you know drinking to excess is particularly tempting at parties, or overeating is particularly likely at the Cheesecake factory, then you might avoid those places. Note that these are obvious solutions. The problem is that people don’t think they need them so they don’t use them.”
In the end it all comes back to how badly you want it. Self-improvement always comes at a price. Whether it be time management, self-control devices or just plain grin-and-bear-it determination, the key is finding out what works for you and sticking to it. Otherwise your couch may remain forever soiled and this new year the same as the last.