Reshaping New Year’s resolutions into more achievable goals


Joshua Staley

Student Affairs Case Manager Co-Kima Hines works in the Governor’s Hall housing office.

Joshua Staley, [email protected], News Writer

A month and a half into the new year and students’ noble goals to stick to their resolutions may have tapered out, but according to some Asheville residents, failure might not be such a terrible thing. 

“Life likes to throw things at you when you don’t expect it to happen, and it keeps you from completing your resolutions. This is why I set goals that seem reachable and with a higher probability of success,” said UNC Asheville junior Jared Feinberg. 

Instead of trying to solve his problems with some grandiose pledge at the end of every year, Feinberg said he believes setting smaller, more achievable goals is the key to success.

“The smaller ones allow you to boost confidence in yourself once you’ve been able to complete them. Then you can start a new set of goals to work on and move on from there. The success sort of builds on itself,” Feinberg said.

The trick, according to Feinberg, is to not get discouraged or be hard on yourself if you fall short of meeting those goals right away.

“There are a million different goals people set for themselves and it can be really tough to stick to them, but obviously hard work and commitment can lead you to the finish line,” he said.

According to a 2021 study conducted by the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 64% of people who make resolutions break them by the end of January. 

Senior Camilly Silva works as a receptionist in the Sherrill Center fitness room and said she noticed the number of people coming to work out started to taper off toward the end of January. 

“There were definitely a lot more folks in here at the beginning of the year, but now it’s starting to just be the regulars that come by because I think their motivation comes in waves. Everyone is so amped up for the first three weeks, then they just fall back into their routines,” she said. 

Silva said she believes changing habits can be difficult, but not impossible if you set reasonable goals instead of trying to change your whole life in one evening on a dime. 

“I don’t think it works like that. For me, it’s more about setting short-term goals I can accomplish every month, something like reading two books a month or working out every other day for 30 minutes,” she said.  

UNCA Student Affairs Case Manager Co-Kima Hines said she sees setting resolutions every year as a cliché and prefers using timelines instead.

“I think people follow along with the cliché and set expectations for themselves without thinking it through. When you have goals, work on them and set timelines for yourself. Apply yourself, but work at it at your own pace,” she said.

A study published by Statista in 2022 suggested that for many, making better, healthier decisions is a connective thread running through most resolutions. Exercising more, eating healthier and losing weight ranked as the most frequently made resolutions  in the survey.

“As long as they are small goals, you should be able to manage them. Completing smaller goals always leads to that larger one at the end. It’s all about how you look at it.  You may have a big project but set small goals each month to chip away at it,” Hines said.

While some try to reconstruct or break down their resolutions to make them work, others attempt to avoid New Year’s resolutions altogether. 

“I feel like they are generally overzealous and end up setting you up for failure. I also don’t like the binary thinking of failure and success, which New Year’s resolutions encapsulate,” said UNCA freshman Olivia Goldstein. 

To Goldstein, the underlying expectation that goals can be achieved overnight is misguided and can lead to underwhelming results, especially when attempting to start something novel.

“I think people equate the new year with some sort of rebirth rather than a continuation or point in our personal evolutions. Tomorrow will bring change instead of change acting as a natural process,” she said. 

Goldstein said weight loss is one of the larger trends circulating, particularly during the shift into the new year.

“You hear it on the radio and you see it on television. It’s pushed onto us in a massive and detrimental way,” she said.

Making sure the aspiration is something that’s obtainable in a realistic way is important, according to Goldstein, alongside trying to stay positive.

“Don’t try and force yourself into doing something you hate because your heart will never be in it. If you don’t like running, walk instead. If you don’t like going to the gym, work out at home,” she said.