Column, Opinions

New Month’s Resolutions?

A new year equals a unique opportunity … to not follow through with our goals. 

The Plex might be packed for the month of January, sure. But when the clock struck 12 on this month of insincere promises, we all disappeared from the Plex and turned back into pumpkins. 

Frankly, I should be the poster girl for breaking New Year’s resolutions. Last year, I lasted literally 12 hours before I broke every single promise I made to myself. I hyped myself up so much just to return to my old habits, thereby wasting another valuable chance to improve myself. So this year, I’m proposing a new system for changing habits—one that moves away from the all-or-nothing New Year’s model. 

Simply put, New Year’s resolutions are dumb. Why do we need a new year to make changes in our life? If you don’t like an aspect of your life, change it then and there. When you wait until New Years’ to improve your habits, you’re just making an excuse to postpone a necessary change. If we want to form good habits—like going to the gym or working harder in school—the longer we delay beginning these journeys, the more accustomed we become to lying in bed and watching reruns of ’90s sitcoms.

I’ve always wondered why New Year’s resolutions aren’t strong enough to stop bad habits or kick-start good ones. To diagnose the issue, I find myself thinking of Sherry Turkle, the author who virtually attended BC’s Class of 2025 convocation. Although I only skimmed the first five chapters of her book and paid no attention to her address on technology (like the majority of my classmates), she might have had a point: Many people in our generation require instant gratification, whether it’s from social media or retail addictions. 

In blunt terms, we have no patience—it seems like Generation Z requires everything now or not at all. So, when new Plex attendees don’t see instantaneous changes in their bodies, or when people find it more challenging than expected to quit bad habits, many resolution-ers revert to their pre-resolution selves.

The question then remains: what can be done?

Personal change is not impossible, but it requires discipline. And discipline is not formed overnight. 

With that in mind, I believe I’ve formed a possible solution to the ineffectiveness of the New Year’s resolution. Let’s forget making a comprehensive list of all the items we want to change about ourselves. That is too much to do all at once. Instead, pick one per month so your goals become small, digestible nuggets. When your new resolution begins to feel natural and easier to maintain at the end of the month, you add a new project. This way, your journey to change seems manageable instead of inevitably headed toward failure. 

The only caveat to this battle strategy is that you have to keep your prescribed goals after their designated month ends. In other words, as the “train” of your new life rolls down the tracks, it slowly carries more additional aspirations—or box cars of further self-improvement. Despite the additional weight, we become accustomed to the cars that have been there, making the transition bearable. 

As month one of 2023 comes to a close, I now see hope in the New Year. Instead of anticipating the worst, the gradual improvements that I started in January help me see the brighter side of life. This one small change has already improved my college experience and made a difference that my closest friends have begun to see. 

So make a change, no matter how small, no matter how slowly. By the end of the year, these changes will add up to a whole new you—one step at a time.

February 5, 2023