Setting Realistic Goals for the New Year

Billy Ferguson/Fourth Estate

Mason students share tips on achieving New Year’s resolutions


Another year has passed in the blink of an eye: 2019 is just a few days away. This is a great time to think of New Year’s resolutions, which is not an easy task. Even though setting achievable goals is important, it is often a challenge for individuals to realistically consider whether their resources and circumstances allow them to work toward these goals.

It is important for students to be realistic about their circumstances and acknowledge all the hurdles they could encounter while trying to achieve their goals. For instance, at the beginning of a semester, some students enroll in several courses without proper knowledge of the workload in their courses.

Sometimes, students have other responsibilities such as managing a job or family obligations. In the middle of the semester, it could be too late when they start to realize that they might not pass their classes, leading to low grades. As a result, their short-term vision and unrealistic approach to work could lead them to frustration and depression. One way that students can avoid this scenario is to properly plan out their work so they have a clear understanding of how much effort required for a given task.

Sophomore finance major Sara Kamrad suggests setting short-term goals rather than focusing on long-term goals, because having a long time span for your goals can quickly decrease your motivation. Take one step at a time, and set your future plans according to your resources and circumstances.

Another very common New Year’s resolution is to lose weight. Students who struggle with this issue probably will make losing weight their New Year’s resolution. Sometimes instead of adopting a healthy lifestyle, they will go on a crash diet and begin intensely exercising, which can result in frustration if their goal doesn’t get realized.

They might get tired of the hectic routine, break their self-commitment and start eating even more unhealthy food. This is also an example that emphasizes the importance of setting realistic goals and keeping expectations in check.

Rather than focusing solely on weight loss, sophomore mathematics major Mercy Wadhwa recommends focusing on maintaining a healthy lifestyle. “Make sure you eat healthy food and maintain a balanced diet,” Wadhwa said. A well-planned weight loss plan can help you lose weight in a more healthy manner.

Realism is good but optimism is better. Being optimistic motivates you to march towards your goals with passion and zeal. Senior computer science major Xavier Brandares suggests staying optimistic about your goals and having a backup plan.

While setting realistic goals is an important step in ensuring that your endeavor will turn out the way you want it to, having faith in your abilities is also crucial as it gives you the self-motivation you need to achieve your goals.