It’s the time of the year again.
The ball has dropped, the break is over, and a new semester has begun. Welcome, SAS students, to 2018.
No matter how exceptionally the past year went, everyone seems to have the same impulse whenever the calendar changes on our desktop.
Why? Why do we all feel the need to rewire ourselves when one digit changes? Why can we never be satisfied with our current circumstances?
Well, it all boils down to a trip back in history. Ancient Rome, to be precise. The Romans believed in a polytheistic religion, with one of their gods, Janus, being two-faced.
This allowed him to look backward towards the past and forward to the future simultaneously. January was named after Janus; thus, Romans took this as a symbol to mean that they should look back on what they could’ve done better, and correspondingly set resolutions for the new year.
However, if you have ever made a list of your past New Year’s Resolutions, you will likely recall that — most of the time — your noble plans fell through.
You can’t keep waking up at five a.m. every day to run a mile around your block. It is simply impossible for you to continue the Atkins diet that you agreed to conquer with your friends.
So, why is this? Making resolutions are one thing, but sustaining them is a whole different issue. According to an article published in 2016 by The Guardian, the main cause of why your resolutions fall through is what psychologists are now calling “False Hope Syndrome”.
Yes, it sounds exactly how it is. False Hope Syndrome is the root of all your failures. It explains how we, as humans, believe that self-change is easy; therefore, we set unrealistic, unattainable goals for ourselves to fulfill.
Don’t convince yourself that you are going to change.
It’s the reason why you hardly hesitate to scribble Cut Out Carbs! in your planner even though there is a voice in the back of your head screaming at you not to. It didn’t matter who you were in the past year because it is all about the person that you want to become.
There is a way to break out of this cycle, though. It is one that every new parent will take to preaching: Break everything up into bite-size pieces.
You want to run a marathon in 2018? Start by running every day. It doesn’t have to be much–10 minutes, maybe. A marathon might sound daunting, but running for 10 minutes each day is manageable.
You want to finish writing a novel? Write a couple of pages a day–even if it feels like it’s word-vomit.
The point is: every step counts, regardless of how small. Set attainable goals that you won’t feel pressured into doing. Set ones that won’t disrupt your current work schedule. But most of all, don’t convince yourself that you are going to change.
Change doesn’t come easy, and it is unlikely that within a year, you will be able to override all of your bad habits with prouder ones. It is important to recognize that every step you take in the direction of pursuing your resolution is already one step farther than before.
Only then, will your New Year’s resolutions… perhaps… come true.