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New Year’s resolutions: Consistency over perfection

Kelly Sikkema // Unsplash
When it comes to New Year’s resolutions, shoot for improvement and settle for happiness.

As the New Year celebrations close out and everyone gets into gear for the new semester, many are starting their New Year’s resolutions. Whether you have decided to hit the gym, eat better or double down on school work, the key to completing these goals is not perfection but consistency. Many people get lost in the idea that perfection in habits is perfect, but that is not something you want to feed into.

Research suggests that roughly 43% of people who create resolutions give up on their goals by the end of January. This can be primarily attributed to the fact that holding yourself accountable for completing your goal is often more difficult than the goal itself. So, as the year progresses, consistency is far more important than perfection.

It can be difficult for many to spend hours of their weeks seeing people on social media who have already “perfected” the goal they may set for themselves. Idealization of content creators is a huge reason it is discouraging when results are not immediately seen. “They made this workout look so easy” and “They read three times the number of book pages I did” are frustrating feelings that make the end goal seem so far away.

Perhaps the hardest thing for a person to do in the New Year is keeping their standards low. It is not a bad thing by any means to have high standards for yourself, but start at the bottom and build up from there. If you want to eat better, order the entree you’d like the most and get a side salad instead of the fries. Starting off with a salad as every meal may leave you unfulfilled and frustrated if it’s not the type of food you are used to eating all the time. Results are not immediate, and in an era where we see seemingly instantaneous improvements from people online, it is important to remember that every page on Instagram is highly fabricated to look that way.

The next important thing to remember is that it’s okay to quit if a resolution is not fulfilling in the way you imagined. If you truly gave it your best shot and you are not enjoying a second of it, then it is perfectly reasonable to move on. Give yourself another goal to achieve; aim for something you think will bring you joy. Life is truly too short to be worried about keeping up with something that makes you unhappy. Shoot for improvement and settle for happiness.

Nothing in life is promised, which is the main reason New Year’s resolutions have always seemed a bit overdramatized to me. Why wait until the new year when next week is not a guarantee? While it is a great thing that Dec. 31 brings people excitement, motivation to truly work on oneself needs to come from the heart, not the date. Consistency, when it comes to your goals, motivation and happiness, is a far greater guarantee of success than aiming for the perceived perfection from others and, more importantly, from yourself.

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Natalie Peck
Natalie Peck, Columnist
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