The University Network

How to Keep Up With Your New Year’s Resolution

The start of a new year comes with many resolutions. People make it their goal to spend more time at the gym, raise their grades, eat healthier, move up at work and much more.

The problem is, 80 percent of these goals fall apart once the second week of February comes along.  

In order for people to accomplish a feat, they must learn the best ways to set and maintain their goals, which is often the hardest part.

Losing weight, improving a grade point average and earning a dream job, for example, are all very overwhelming tasks. Most times, they won’t be accomplished in a month, or even a year. But that doesn’t mean they should be forgotten or set aside.

How to set a good goal

Setting a goal is tricky. It takes thought, dedication and self-reflection.

Ben Lamanna, a men’s and women’s tennis coach at Brandeis University, has turned many players into All-Americans by teaching them how to properly and effectively set goals.

“A good goal is centered around something that you truly care about and will maintain interest in; you will feel confident that the goal you set is something that can be attained,” Lamanna said in a Q&A published on Brandeis Now. “The goal should be specific, measurable and attainable.”

Lots of times, people will set goals to “lose weight” or “do better in school.” While these are objectively good ideas, they aren’t precise enough to encourage sustainable dedication towards a goal.

For a goal to be achievable, it must be specific.

“From my top players over the years, I’ve heard a lot of ‘I want to win x or y,’ like an NCAA title,” Lamanna said in the Q&A. “That’s something we all should strive for, but we all need to understand how to get there.”

If someone wants to “be healthier” in the new year, a good goal for them may be to run a mile every day after class or work, or cut out red meat from their diet. And if these steps seem overwhelming, start smaller. Instead, the goals could start at walking a mile and only eating red meat twice a week.

The point is, it is imperative to be realistic and truthful to yourself. Personal goals aren’t for anyone else.

Sticking to goals

Goals cannot be accomplished if failure is expected. This is why breaking up a larger goal into smaller, more manageable steps is key.

Raising a GPA from a 2.0 to a 3.0, for example, can’t be accomplished overnight. It takes a shift in personal mentality and approach that can only be accomplished through small day-to-day tasks — whether it be staying at the library for an extra hour every night or going to a professor’s office hours.

“It’s important to schedule it into your daily routine,” Lamanna said in the Q&A.

“You need to force yourself to do things, to sometimes make sacrifices, and to receive feedback from others who can hold you accountable for your goals.”

While self-motivation is a key component to sticking to a goal, sometimes discussing goals and asking for support with friends and family can be beneficial.

“I aim to discuss goals routinely with student-athletes, both in group settings and in private,” Lamanna continued. “It’s important to keep checking in on goals, feeling good about the progress we’ve made, and pushing onward.”

Encourage self-growth

Accomplishing a goal takes a lot of hard work and sacrifice, which can start to weigh on people. That is why it is important to take a step back and look in the mirror — both literally and metaphorically — to acknowledge hard work, recognize progress and be proud.

People who are serious about accomplishing their goals will be encouraged by their progress.