New Year’s resolutions can be kept – if you know how

Photos by Natasha Rusilko. Rusilko's change in lifestyle and weight set her on a path towards become a personal trainer to help others.

BEFORE AND AFTER: Natasha Rusilko’s change in lifestyle and weight set her on a path toward becoming a personal trainer to help others.


New Year’s resolutions were made just over two weeks ago, and it’s time to consider whether the annual tradition is worth its while.

When a new year begins, some people use the date to make fresh starts.

Goals vary from things such as improving one’s health to becoming more money wise.

However, New Year’s resolutions often get a bad rep.

A study by found that 40 per cent of people planned on making resolutions for the year in 2015, and out of these people 66 per cent failed at achieving their goals.

Another study performed by found that in a group of 3,000 resolution makers, 52 per cent of participants were confident in their resolutions at the beginning of the year. At the year’s end, only 12 per cent were successful.

It’s a regular practice that everyone is familiar with, and the downside to the tradition.

Most people anticipate failure.

“They never end up working for me,” said Shauna Moffatt, 16. “I usually stuck to it for two weeks to a month if I was lucky, because of school and work.”


“It’s so simple, but so difficult to do at the same time,” said Leila Ben Belfadhel, 21, a technician in the equipment department at Sheridan. “You’re committing to keeping [a resolution] up for a year or more. It’s a simple statement, and you think it’ll be easy to do, but people don’t think about the work and focus it takes to do that one simple thing.”

Natasha Rusilko, 23, a personal trainer and yoga instructor, understands the struggle that comes with making a habit change. Working with people throughout the year to create workout and meal plans, she sees people come and go regularly ­– both successful and not.

Rusilko made the change herself, losing not only bad habits but over 70 pounds on her own.

“Even on the days when you don’t want to do it, you need to find the dedication,” said Rusilko. “It’s up and down for everybody, because life happens. But you just have to keep going.”

“Having a short-term goal can help build up the idea of success,” said Belfadhel. “When you give yourself a resolution to get buff in three months you stress yourself out and get depressed about not achieving the goal.”

Rusilko herself started out small, letting daily habits change instead of making a clean change in her life.

“When I decided to change my lifestyle, it first happened without me really trying because I was walking a good five miles a day around campus to get to class,” said Rusilko. “I started making healthier decisions while on campus, like getting a salad instead of getting pizza, and then eventually just started bringing my own food with me, and lots of snacks to eat while I was in class.”

With 33 per cent of people in the study not keeping track of their resolutions, and 23 per cent forgetting about their goals, it seems technology to keep people accountable is an asset.

With technology like the Fit Bit, which helps to count daily steps, calories burned and sleep patterns, people have a higher chance of reaching success by staying accountable.

Apps that help with routines and patterns are also available on Apple and Android technology like HabitRPG – an app that turns following routine into a game.

Kelsea Pulley, 24, attributes her purchase of a Fit Bit to her success in sticking to her resolution of becoming healthier.

“It’s been helping me a lot,” said Pulley. “I am able to set a budget for calorie intake, which helps.”

“I have tried to make these changes without it being a resolution, but they never stuck because I didn’t believe in their impact. I think my age makes it different this time, I’ve lost that feeling of invincibility now that things have begun to noticeably reflect my lifestyle.”

Rusilko suggests other options for achieving goals as well. She created a blog on Tumblr to provide herself with a supportive community, and inspiration.

“I don’t think I would’ve done it without my blog. It helped to see motivational images and quotes. You can express yourself and talk to followers who are going through the same thing.”

The resolution may not be for everyone, but with a bit of effort seems to be a possibility for all. Even with failure, people still try and try again.

“Maybe one year they’ll stick. I think that’s why people keep making them because maybe they’ll work. They bring hope,” said Moffatt.