By Chaviva Freedman
Every year, I go through the same routine. On New Year’s Eve , I take out a fresh sheet of paper and write down my list of resolutions for the year. It could be anything – from changing my entire wardrobe to learning how to cook a new cuisine. I usually end up with a whole page (or a few pages) of ideas that will better my year and make me the best person I can be.
Fast forward to the end of January. I’ve lost that paper in the midst of finals and throwing out every handout I received during the previous semester. The ideas that seemed so grand in the first place now look bleak and far away. And above all, I’ve developed the same slump that I was in before, leading to disillusionment of my resolutions.
Why is it that our society places such high expectations on keeping our New Year’s resolutions? I truly never thought about until a friend of mine suggested that I write a piece on it. Why is it that we all have this belief that we will be able to achieve all our goals when we all know that inevitably those ideas fall bythe wayside?
I think the reason that resolutions never seem to stick is two-fold. First, the resolutions we set for ourselves seem to be a bit too big for our britches. Personally, I always resolve to work out at the gym every day, even though I already know that the numberof times I actually make it to the gym can be counted on one hand. By setting our goals too high, it’s nearly impossible to reach them. Second, our resolutions are usually the result of someone else’s giving usthe idea to set them. I’m not saying that your mom’s idea for you to separate your laundry into whites and colors is a bad resolution to set. It’s just not one that is solely from your own imagination.
In order to combat the inevitable disappointment, I chose to do something that at first seemed impossible: I created a goal chart. I found a corkboard lying around in my house (why I had this floating around, I truly don’t know) and I mapped out all that I set out to do for the year 2018. My goal chart has everything, ranging from finding a way to interview one of my favorite actors for a major publication to simply drinking an adequate amount of water each day. The aim of the goal chart is that for each resolution that I finish, I take it off the board and place it into an envelope. That way at the end of the year, I can look at all the little squares that I collected and feel a sense of satisfaction from all that I accomplished.
Here are a few things to remember when it comes to making resolutions:
- It’s totally normal not to accomplish all of your resolutions. Don’t think you’re alone in not being able to fulfill that which you set out to achieve on January 1st. There’s a reason that the whole world makes fun of the fact!
- Start out slow. Instead of putting all these grand plans on your list, start with two or three resolutions that you know you can achieve. Maybe try to have one vegetarian meal a week or spend only $5 on your favorite Starbucks drink a week. The famous saying “Rome wasn’t built in a day” applies here and if you follow that, you won’t be disappointed and disenchanted by this tradition.
- You can always add resolutions. I am the queen of not remembering things, and I’ve learned that with resolutions, there’s never a deadline for when you need to start or finish your goals. It’s up to you to take your own pace and remember that these goals are yours and yours only.
So maybe the disillusionment about resolutions will go away at some point in my life. Until then, I will watch my friends make resolutions and hope that they are happy with their goals.