The effectiveness of New Years resolutions By Vincent Niewald

New Year’s Resolutions are a common tradition in Western countries. However, they have become something of a joke over time, with many people who make them being well aware that they will not stay faithful to said resolutions. Some people, like instructor Sara Fjell, chose to take a different approach with the New Year.

“I’m not a big resolution maker, I prefer to make goals instead,” Fjell said. “I always say that I try to make a personal goal, a professional goal, and then something to do with my health. Those are my three things that I always try to do. I don’t like write it down anywhere, I just kind of keep it in my mind,”. 

Fjell’s philosophy essentially boils down to making sure that the ‘goal setter’ makes sure to keep things manageable for themselves. Additionally, Fjell, as Advisor to Bellevue East’s Leadership Academy, has given extra advice to those students. 

“I talk about this a lot with our leadership academy kids, but I think goal setting is essential,” Fjell said. “Like, I tell kids all the time, ‘If you aren’t actively thinking about what you want to get out of this life, if you’re going to lose out on all of these opportunities, so if resolutions are your way of trying to set goals for yourself, I think it’s great,”.

            Bellevue East’s resident psychologist Dr. Kimberly Rausch said to make sure resolutions are manageable, so that it is actually possible to accomplish said resolutions. According to Rausch, most people who attempt to make New year’s resolutions end up failing by February. 

“The biggest thing why people make and then count themselves as having ‘broken’ a resolution is because they started something that was kind of a global, and they didn’t break it down into being a very specific goal,” Rausch said.

Sophomore Erica Nickish is a new believer in making resolutions. She wants to make sure that she is the best she can be, as a “daughter, sister, friend, and teammate”.

“I’ve never done New year resolutions until now. Part of that is because I want to push my mental and physical state to be better. Since I’m a sophomore in high school I think it’s a great time to start,” Nickish said.

In the end, there are just a couple of fairly reasonable steps to keeping resolutions. All someone has to do is make sure to keep things small, make sure that they are realistic, and to do them for themselves, not for someone else. According to Rausch, the last thing somebody really needs to do is make sure that they keep their resolutions smaller in scale, and making sure that they are ‘tied to a routine’. 

            “For example, if somebody wants to exercise more, then one of the ways that they could do that is that they decide to do a push up everytime they go to the bathroom,” Rausch said.

In an interview with, Timothy Pychyl, who is currently a professor of psychology at Carleton University, claimed that resolutions are a form of “cultural procrastination”. 

”(Resolutions are) an effort to reinvent oneself. People make resolutions as a way of motivating themselves, he says. Pychyl argues that people aren’t ready to change their habits, particularly bad habits, and that accounts for the high failure rate,” Pychyl said. 

Additionally, people often fall victim to “false hope syndrome”, which is essentially what happens when one makes an unrealistic resolution, which can, upon failing, end up damaging someone’s self worth. 

“You make it part of the routine, it just becomes part of what your day is, if you can do both of those things, the biggest problem is starting, because once you start in, you go on, and the the biggest thing is to anchor it to a routine you are already doing,” Rausch said.