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New year, same old resolutions

graceI have never really understood the point of New Year’s resolutions. Yes, they are usually made in an attempt to better someone, which is always beneficial, but I hate the hype that they get. It seems pointless to me, and as we’re entering the second full week of January, I’m wondering how many people are still keeping up with theirs.

It seems as though resolutions should be made whenever people realize they need to improve something about themselves. I understand the appeal of having a nice starting point. It is more clean and easy to remember if someone decides to start working out on the first day of January. In fact, it may even be easier to track progress. The whole idea of “New Year, New You” is strong throughout so many common resolutions.

But I also feel like there is more pressure. Some people might not  be ready to start working out five times a week, learn a new language or even do something like quit smoking or drinking alcohol. These are all excellent ways to improve oneself, but if a person decides at the end of December that it would make sense to start the resolution in the New Year, it does not really give him or her much time to prepare. This could lead to more frustration when it is clear that a person is not going to have the time to devote to exercising that he or she intended, which may set up the individual for more failure.

Another problem I have with New Year’s resolutions is when there is not a way to improve. Staticbrain.com listed the top 10 resolutions for 2014, and while many of them are the common “lose weight” and “get organized,” there are still some that cannot really be controlled. One of them was “fall in love.” Maybe I’m behind the times, but I do not think that is something that people can control. What can be controlled are the environments people are in and whether they try something like online dating. But, in my opinion, the actual act of falling in love should not be a resolution. A better way to word that goal, if it was that important to someone, would be to say “Join an online dating site” or “Ask people I’m interested in on dates.”

Honestly, I prefer making new goals for myself at the start of each semester. I do not start it the first day because I do not want to end up promising to do something that semester and then struggling halfway through it. There is no real way for me to gauge how many hours a week I will have to spend reading or writing, even though credit hours are supposed to do that. Instead, I make more vague goals and then when I can, I make more concrete ones after I understand the workload I will have.

As an adult, I know that I probably will not be able to follow that same format. I will not work on a semester schedule, and in a way, that is kind of strange to think about. I may change my mind about the value of New Year’s resolutions starting at the New Year, but I do not see that happening right now.

If you want to improve yourself, I say just do it! If you want to make a change and have been thinking about it for a while, there is no reason to wait around for a new year. Instead, make these changes on your own schedule.

Grace Johnson is a senior publishing major and columnist for The Vidette. Any questions or comments regarding her column can be sent to dvgvjohns@ilstu.edu.

 

 

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