Column: Resolve to keep your New Year’s promises

Column: Resolve to keep your New Year’s promises

In elementary school, making New Year’s resolutions was just a writing exercise to get kids back on track after winter break, and was usually along the lines of “I will be nice to my brothers and sisters” or “I will make my bed every day.” Of course, breaking resolutions was hard to do back then because parents made sure you did these things anyway.

But as a college student, your parents aren’t here to make sure you do what you’re supposed to. Therefore you’re on your own when it comes to keeping a New Year’s resolution.

I think resolutions are fun to make, mainly because it’s a chance to start over fresh and see how you can make this year better than last.

Now that we’re already a couple of weeks into 2007, I would be hard-pressed to find many students who’ve kept the promises they made to themselves after the ball dropped in Times Square.

I’m sure anyone who makes a resolution has great intentions, but let’s be real for a second – has anyone ever kept a New Year’s resolution? I would guess maybe for a month or so, but once you get back into the swing of things, when classes start and all your friends are back on campus, you become more busy and the resolution goes by the wayside.

To me, that is just frustrating. A New Year’s resolution is a goal that is supposed to improve your life, so how can you forget about it if your life is really in need of this improvement? For instance, being more health-conscious is a very common resolution. And if you start going to the gym for a week but then get distracted by school, don’t be surprised if suddenly it’s hard to button your favorite jeans.

My friend’s resolution is to take her vitamins, but she tells me that she keeps forgetting. My solution for her was to keep the bottle in sight, or make it part of a daily routine. If you eat breakfast every morning, keep your vitamins or medicine – whatever you need to take – on your kitchen table. If you’re looking at it, you probably won’t forget. Or keep it in the bathroom next to your toothpaste. I hope you brush your teeth every night, so just tack on taking your vitamins to your nightly regimen. Although it may sound obvious, my friend has yet to open her bottle of “One-a-Day.”

Forgetting is not the only reason people drop resolutions. Often it seems they don’t make realistic goals, and so are unable to meet their own expectations. If you decide you want to lose some weight, make it a realistic number, or just omit the number altogether. Sometimes having that number in your head can be distracting, and frustrating if an immediate change does not occur. Instead, try a more simple goal like, “go to the gym more often” or “eat less junk food.” The less difficult the resolution, the less pressure you’ll feel and the easier it will be to accomplish.

But like many things in life, keeping a resolution is easier said than done. If you’re serious about keeping one, think about how you can do it. Once you get your schedule for classes, try to figure out when you will be able to fit in your resolution if it is something that requires a set schedule, like going to the gym or volunteering. Then designate a certain time of day and make it part of your routine, not just for when you have free time.

If your New Year’s resolution is something to help to better your life, like keeping in touch with friends you hardly see anymore, don’t just think about doing it, do it immediately when the thought pops into your head. Call your friend and see if they want to go to lunch tomorrow, or just send them a “Hey, how was your break?” text the moment you think about them. You won’t be left feeling guilty if you do it right away.

I really don’t see the point of making a resolution if you don’t think you can stay with it throughout the year. Everyone’s life has room for improvement, and even though resolutions may seem silly, you may be able to get something out of one if you really try. Who knows, this could be your best year yet.

– Julia Gall can be reached at [email protected]

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