It’s Spring 2011. There’s a wait for treadmills at the gym, Dewick’s salad bar is low on veggies, and Tisch is full of students looking for an empty seat. It’s that time of the year when Tufts students try to make good on New Year’s resolutions.
Many college students make resolutions that involve changing lifestyle habits and behaviors, like working out more, decreasing stress, and getting better grades.
How many people actually keep their resolutions? Research shows that most people fail early on. The Great Willpower Report (2010), a survey of over 2,000 people sponsored by the National Health Service in the United Kingdom, showed that only a quarter of respondents maintained their resolution after two weeks when relying on willpower.
Why do people fail? First, studies suggest that the prefrontal cortex of the brain, which controls willpower, can only handle so much information. This area of the brain is also responsible for focus, short-term memory and problem solving. So, with a high level of focus and thinking, the ability to reject that bag of candy after a long day of studying at Tisch is weakened. Second, willpower is only part of decision-making. Friends, emotions, and your environment play roles. For example, if you’re trying to get organized, but you live with a roommate who throws their clothes on the floor, you’re less likely to succeed.
It may seem that the cards are stacked against you if have a New Year’s resolution. But, don’t stop walking to Cousens or start forgetting about the salad bar at Carmichael just yet- Balance Your Life helps students take the small steps necessary to achieve goals.
Come back on Monday for five tips from BYL that will help you make good on your resolution(s).