New year; same resolution

With all the hype surrounding New Year’s resolutions, it astounds me how many people break them by the end of the first month.

Brianna Leyden
Brianna Leyden

A friend told me that her New Year’s resolution this year was to lose 10 pounds. Considering that within a week I caught her eating a bag of marshmallows, I wish her good luck. Really.

Think back to your last New Year’s party. People talking and laughing, and children and adults alike were toasting the coming year. Everyone was hoping for a fresh start, and they incorporated those wishes into something more: resolutions.

By this time, many of you have probably forgotten your own. People usually start out well — for the first couple of days. The new year brings with it new confidence and energy, but best of all, a clean slate. The mistakes one made in the past year are “forgotten,” and people are given the chance to make a resolution to ensure that those mistakes don’t happen again. Then, in a moment of boredom or frustration, they find themselves reverting back to their old habits.

I know that for myself every New Year, when the ball drops in Times Square, I make pretty much the same resolutions. Why? Because I’m not as strong-willed as I like to think I am, just like the many who also give up on their resolutions.

I admit it: I can’t keep my mind on one goal for an entire year. One of my most frequent goals has been to stop biting my nails. Gross, I know, but I seem to fall back on it whenever I become distracted, bored or tired. I make that same promise to myself every year to stop biting, and then — BAM! One day in English class, I’ll realize I’ve failed. Again.

What is it with people and not being able to finish what we start? We get all riled up when Obama, Bush or any world leader, for that matter, is unable to accomplish world peace in a year. Most of us can’t even keep a New Year’s resolution for longer than a month!

It’s probably because we set lofty, vague goals that we can’t meet. Getting in shape, quitting a bad habit and helping others are some of the Top 10 most common resolutions made, according to What do those things even mean? Do we honestly expect to complete these tasks when we can’t even specifically define the end goal?

For example, “getting into shape.” Now what shape would that be exactly? And are you planning on getting to that “shape” in a week? A month? By the end of the year? By setting such an unclear goal, you are basically setting yourself up for failure. If you make a resolution to start going to the gym once a week, or immediately throw out all junk foods in your house, that’s a promise to yourself that is both realistic and attainable.

Please, if you even made a goal this year, dredge it back up out of your memory and break it down into smaller steps. Babies didn’t learn to walk by leaping, obviously.

So is it a cop-out to say that my New Year’s resolution this year was to successfully complete a resolution? Maybe. But at least I’ve set a minuscule goal for myself that I can, maybe, hopefully, achieve.