My lack of New Year's resolutions shows I’m not ready for 2019

I still need to overhaul the life I lived in 2018

lf18-pollard

Tom Pollard is a Life Columnist for The Cavalier Daily. 

Emma Klein | Cavalier Daily

It’s the first month and first semester of a new year! The 21st century is officially 19-years-old, and I’m still the same imperfect individual I’ve always been. Nice! Everything seems to be in order.

Hold on a second. What about New Year's resolutions? Well — here’s the thing — I don’t normally make them.

It’s not because I’m a hissing pessimist glaring at people making fun promises from a dark corner. I don’t think New Year’s resolutions are pointless or naïve. I actually think they’re great. Sure, people who actually stick to their declarations are almost mythical, but resolutions don’t have to be fulfilled to be meaningful. Even a halfway victory towards a better lifestyle is significant.

In the end, everyone who made a promise this new year — even if they’ve already broken it — is still lapping everyone on the couch.

I’m on the couch.

It’s not because I don’t make grand resolutions. I do. Just not on Dec. 31. Instead — a few times a year — I spontaneously decide to better all aspects of myself all at once.

These random bouts of responsibility are sudden and short-lived. After a period of slacking off in a dramatic fashion, a manic energy grips me. I read all my new emails. I wash and fold all my clothes. I decide I’ll start meal prepping and using monthly planners. And I can stick with my naïve resolutions for days. Days!

You make unrealistic promises to yourself on New Year’s? Well, I make unrealistic promises to myself all year long! Checkmate, loser.

Anyways, it’s no surprise my impractical expectations peter out. By the time the new year rolls around, I’m often pretty jaded to the idea of making grand promises. I spend the whole year making irrational pledges, and then I’m expected to make more? No thanks.

I think my aversion to making New Year’s promises goes deeper, however.

The end of the year is a stressful time. Sure — winter break is fun — but shortly after, new classes start. The leviathan of college has started up again, and yet most of us still have things from last year we need to finish — or let go of.

Personally, I didn’t look at my inbox all break. I didn’t clean out my old binders or my backpack. I never checked any of the final grades I was most worried about. Here — at the time where it’s most acceptable to make ambitious declarations about the future — many practical things from my past are unfinished.

So, this year, I want to propose a different kind of New Year’s tradition. One where we don’t attempt to change our entire being in a day but just improve something small.

Instead of trying to be always on time, respond to one email you’ve been putting off. Instead of trying to be a more organized person, just clean one thing. Keep it small. Call them resolutions if you want (they still kind of are), but don’t expect to change yourself in a day. Just try to make next year a little easier.  

For myself, I still need to:

  1. Use the 80-pound bag of concrete that’s in my garage for some reason.
  2. Throw out last semester’s expired groceries still in the fridge (To my roommates: I’m sorry. I know that was my job).
  3. Learn how to use the spaghetti strainer I got last year.
  4. Buy more floss.
  5. Etc.

These aren’t big tasks. They aren’t even all that important. But they’re little things I started in 2018 and never finished, and that’s enough. A new year can be stressful enough without big promises. Instead, maybe we should focus on the little ones.

Ambitious resolutions should still be made at this time of year for those they help motivate. If you have trouble keeping your New Year’s promises like I do, I’d say focus on the smaller stuff. And if we fail, we can always go back to the couch.

Tom Pollard is a Life Columnist for The Cavalier Daily. He can be reached at life@cavalierdaily.com

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