Resolve to change past the new year

The new year has begun, and time is already ticking. People put pen to paper as they list resolutions they want to accomplish before the year’s end. I too, am one of these people, creating a laundry list of goals, but I can’t help but feel a strong sense of deja vu. Everything’s the same: the urgent optimism, the lengthy lists and, worst of all, the resolutions. Realizing this, I had to ask: how many resolutions did I accomplish last year?

For me, the answer misses the goal. Usually, New Year’s Eve rolls in, and I’m on a holiday high. I can’t help but be starry-eyed and consider the opportunities riddling the next 365 days. Promise upon promise is made: become more fit, catch up on my reading and make more money, all by the end of the year. Eventually, these promises degrade into problems: daily jog routines run into a wall, Facebook keeps my face out of books and I’m a college student, so no money there. Months march on, and nothing gets done. Frankly, I soon consider the year a fail.

Why do some of my – and perhaps yours as well – resolutions fall by the wayside once the year starts rolling?

How we treat our resolutions breeds their irresolution. We’ve trapped ourselves into thinking that everything we do falls along a strict timeline: to accomplish goal A is to do X, Y and Z by times one, two and three, exclusively. This idea isn’t wholly bad; when you have an assignment due soon, a strict timeline is needed. The same applies to anything physical that has to be done by a certain time. Changing intangible things, however, cannot be restricted to a timeline. People often resolve to be healthier or smarter with decisions – tasks linked to improving self-image. Self-image isn’t an assignment that can be started and completed. It’s something developed and altered throughout our lives. Confining this process to 365 days is like taking the stress of a lifetime and stuffing it into a year. We simply can’t handle that. If you thought finals week was bad, try a “finals” year.

Resolutions, then, need to be prolonged goals, rather than items on a timely list. Change can happen at any time. Didn’t reach your goal from a year ago? Not a problem. Keep working at it. The time between who you are now and who you wish to be is limitless.


Sherman Hewitt is an undeclared freshman.