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The Mountain Lion Messenger

Revolutionizing Resolutions: Navigating the Path to Success

Alaina Smalling
Sierra Vista student Mia Nava (10) working hard at her new year’s resolution, 3 months later on March 5th, 2024.

As the clock strikes midnight on December 31st, millions around the globe embark on the ritualistic journey of New Year’s resolutions. Despite the collective optimism and determination, the harsh reality remains that many resolutions falter within weeks. AP Psychology teacher at Sierra Vista, Valerie Marino, who holds a doctorate from the University of California, Irvine, with a specialty in cognitive science, unveils the common pitfalls that sabotage our best intentions and elucidates the pathways to success.

Dr. Marino firstly points out a fundamental flaw with many resolutions: their lack of specificity, measurability, realism, and timeliness. “It’s not specific, measurable, realistic, or within a certain time frame,” she asserts, emphasizing that without clear and well-defined goals, our intentions remain vague and unattainable. It’s akin to embarking on a journey without a map – directionless and prone to aimless wandering. Thus, Dr. Marino urges individuals to articulate their aspirations with precision, ensuring that each goal is tangible and achievable within a reasonable timeframe. Sierra Vista sophomore Mia Nava has applied this strategy to her own new year’s resolution. “I decided I wanted to get more serious about working out this year” In order to stay disciplined, she recognized her own faults regarding following through and made the conscious effort and “I told my friends about my goals, so they can hold me accountable. It’s a lot easier to stop doing something if you have no one to encourage you” she states.

Moreover, Dr. Marino underscores the pivotal role of measurable progress in maintaining self-control and sustaining motivation. “Only if you see progress,” she explains, “so you must have a goal that is measurable.” Without tangible milestones to track our advancement, discipline becomes an exercise in futility, akin to navigating through dense fog without a compass. Therefore, she advocates for setting quantifiable metrics to gauge progress, empowering individuals to stay focused and committed amidst challenges. Dr. Marino also delves into the influence of personality traits on resolution success, particularly highlighting the significance of conscientiousness. Those endowed with a higher level of conscientiousness – characterized by traits such as dependability, reliability, and a disposition for organization – are better equipped to translate their intentions into tangible actions. Armed with schedules and checklists as guiding beacons, these individuals exhibit greater resilience and perseverance in pursuit of their goals. Mia Nava commented, “ I like making lists, it helps me get more done”. Mia is more of a conscious person, so creating schedules and executing her goals in general are something that she enjoys.

Yet, despite our best efforts, motivation often wanes over time, Dr. Marino acknowledges; she likens the journey towards our goals to a “honeymoon period,” where initial passion gradually fades in the absence of visible progress. It’s the classic tale of starry-eyed romance giving way to the harsh realities of everyday life. Thus, she cautions against complacency and advocates for ongoing self-reflection and adaptation to sustain momentum.

However, amidst these challenges, there remains a glimmer of hope: the transformative power of social support and a growth mindset. Dr. Marino emphasizes the importance of cultivating a support network, whether through accountability partners or supportive communities, to bolster resilience and foster mutual encouragement. Mia Nava added, “ getting a gym buddy helped me even more with following through because i didn’t want to cancel on them”.  Furthermore, Dr. Marino advocates for a shift in mindset – from a fixed perspective to one grounded in growth and possibility. “Even if you’re not at your goal, everything you do to get you on that path is [having] a growth mindset.” This reframing of setbacks as opportunities for learning and growth fosters resilience and fortitude, empowering individuals to persevere in the face of adversity. Constantly keeping a goal in mind helps remind one of the purpose behind their actions.

Armed with Dr. Marino’s insights, students can revolutionize their approach to resolutions and navigate the path to success with clarity and purpose. By setting clear, measurable goals, maintaining self-discipline, seeking support, and embracing a growth mindset, students can pave the way for lasting transformation and fulfillment. As March approaches, students should take the time and reflect on the progress that may or may not have been made towards their goals. For in the pursuit of our resolutions lies the promise of a brighter, better future – one small step at a time.

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About the Contributor
Alaina Smalling, Staff Reporter
Alaina Smalling is a sophomore at Sierra Vista High School. This is her first year of journalism. Alaina enjoys listening to music and hanging out with her friends. Alaina was born inSacramento, California and moved to Vegas in 2020.

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