Before I begin, let me first say “happy winter quarter!” and recommend hot chocolate, peppermint tea, and a fantastic product called the “Slanket“ to keep you warm this winter season (it‘s a blanket with sleeves…look it up now, thank me later).
Now back to it.
For me, it is time for a revolutionary idea, so here it is: I hereby resolve not to make New Year‘s Resolutions. I will no longer start the year making a promise I know I am not going to keep. It‘s like taking out a full-page ad in the local paper to announce to the world that I‘m full of crap. Having said that, I think it‘s wonderful to use the New Year as a catalyst to look within ourselves, and acknowledge our flaws. Retrospection and change are both essential to living a content life.
The January issue of every magazine includes a section dedicated to the almighty New Year‘s Resolution. People resolve to lose weight, work out, spend less money, earn more money, assert themselves more, stress less, call their moms more often (ok that one was just my mom‘s voice in my head). The suggested resolutions run the gamut from inconsequential to monumental.
Suddenly, the moment the ball drops on New Year‘s Eve, the promises begin. Those carefully fashioned vows designed to ensure we are happier, healthier, more productive and more organized in the next twelve months than we were before.
Some say that the changing of the calendar is the perfect opportunity to correct the things they don‘t like about themselves, to change the circumstances of their lives, to take the metaphorical “out with the old, and in with the new“ and make it real.
I have never totally bought into the New Year‘s resolution concept. The cynical part of me is certain the whole idea was created by some health club marketing director. It certainly turned out to be a sure-fire way to get new members to sign up and pay their fees in January, knowing full well most of them will disappear from the gym‘s sign up sheets by mid February.
But I am not totally immune. In the past, when asked by friends and family about my resolutions, I‘ve regurgitated generalizations about life, health and organizational skills. I started writing in a diary one year, the next I was going to make a personal filing system, and one year I bought a new pair of walking shoes promising to use them once a day. I never opened the diary again, never filed anything in my custom made system, and I could still sell the walking shoes on ebay and label them “worn once“.
When I make a resolution, knowing in my heart of hearts it will not be fulfilled, I am reminded of the of old saying ” I can‘t hear what you are saying because what you are is too loud“. What does it say about me that I am willing to bow to peer pressure and make a vow, fully understanding no one expects me to make good on it?
But let‘s be honest. I‘m not going to eat more carrots or finish all my essays 3 days before they are due, and I am not going to read ‘The Classics‘ instead of watching the Bones marathon.
Making resolutions hasn‘t helped me change any of the things about myself that I would like to change. So, I choose not to make them anymore, and rather take each situation throughout the year as it comes.
While trying to flesh out the idea for this column, I asked a couple of friends if they had made any New Years Resolutions. One said “Of course, I feel like I should, but usually I forget about them before long.“ The other said “Never. I don‘t see the point“ I relate to the first response, but I admire the second.
So, I am done with the dreaded NYR.
I will try and make my life about actions as well as words. Saying what I mean is a good thing (and my dream future does depend on writing what I think and believe), but I need actions to back it all up. If I‘m going to talk the talk, I need to walk the walk, and no promise I make to myself one day a year will ever make that happen.
Glad I got that … resolved.
EMILY KAPLAN has a strange passion for fresh notebooks, pens and post-it pads. She wants to know what you like best about school starting again, so e-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org.