Students share why they make or don’t make resolutions at the start of a new year
The time leading up to each new year comes with an onslaught of talk about the things and people to be left behind, and 2018 was no different. Once the new year arrives, new year’s resolutions tend to be a huge topic of conversation. For some students, new year’s resolutions are a means to improve, whereas others see it as a social pressure that won’t result in lasting change.
First-year undeclared major C.C. Clark has made resolutions every year but only started actually following through on them last year, when she started making more impactful resolutions. She emphatically believes that resolutions are the best.
“[Resolutions] improve your life and the lives of those around [you],” Clark said. “I think that everybody should make resolutions — you don’t have to wait for the new year to make a change [either]. There is just one moment when you decide ‘this part of my life isn’t going well, I’m going to fix it’ — and that one decision is all that it takes.”
Clark has a list of resolutions for this year, including varying goals such as being timely, reducing her carbon footprint and giving back to the Davis community. It’s not just around New Year’s Day that she resolves to try to improve herself, however, but she acknowledged that the new year does offer a good opportunity to consider future change.
“The end of a year and the start of a new one is a time to really reflect on your life, what’s going well [and] what isn’t, and decide what big change you want to make,” Clark said, “Or decide on the positive parts of your life that you want to amplify.”
First-year microbiology major Jennifer Gomberg decided to focus on improving her sleep habits this year, but she acknowledged that there are some societal expectations to make a resolution for the new year and that it can be hard to follow through.
“As long as you’re motivated, and you have the determination, I think that’s what will propel you to actually complete the goal rather than saying ‘Oh, it’s New Year’s, I got to make a resolution,’” Gomberg said. “And that could be any time of the year rather than January.”
Gomberg believes that making goals for oneself, as opposed to following more generic trends or resolutions, increases motivation and discussed how the lack of follow-through that some people face can be avoided.
For other students like first-year pharmaceutical chemistry major Jennifer Tran, new year’s resolutions are too associated with short term goals. Tran believes that the pressure of creating resolutions makes people jump into things they aren’t necessarily ready for, leading them to inevitably stop trying to reach that goal later on.
“You just associate resolutions with [New Year’s] Day, and it’s short term,” Tran said. “The whole point of a resolution is for you to stick to it. If it’s really something you want to change, why would you wait till that specific time of the year when you could have done it sooner?”
Tran also believes that resolutions tend to set high expectations, which makes failing to meet them even worse. She thinks that society contributes to these high expectations by dictating what resolutions are most acceptable.
“A resolution should be just for the individual. It shouldn’t be based on just what society wants or what you want other people to think of you,” Tran said. “Even if you don’t meet [a resolution] at that time and you fail, you think to yourself, ‘I’ll put it off till the next year.’ What you’re doing is discouraging yourself, in the end making you feel guilty and imperfect. Everybody has their own pace of changing themselves.”
First-year communication major Ulises Castorena agreed with Tran in some regards, citing society’s role in individual’s new year’s resolution choices.
“As a society, when we do new year’s resolutions, we put these extravagant goals,” Castorena said, “We just idealize what we want, instead of putting more realistic goals […] In the end, we put a lot of pressure on ourselves to achieve them. And when we don’t achieve them, we just collapse under pressure, and I just feel like, in a way, it does more damage than good.”
Castorena understands why the new year is the time that many people choose for introspection but believes that it isn’t always necessary.
“Just make your resolutions more realistic and achievable,” Castorena said. “And if you don’t achieve them, don’t be too hard on yourself.”
Tran doesn’t think that new year’s resolutions are entirely bad. She said it’s fine whether or not someone sticks to their personal resolutions but thinks that people tend to use New Year’s as an excuse to make the same resolution over and over.
“If you honestly think you can stick to it, it’s fine. And if you can’t stick to it, that’s completely fine too,” Tran said. “But don’t just keep repeating the same resolution every year when you know you [won’t] do it. If it’s a resolution, make it count.”
Written By: Anhini Venugopal — firstname.lastname@example.org