New Year’s resolutions: purposeful or pointless?

Working out and living a healthier lifestyle is a common New Year’s resolution among students. // Photo by Taylor Gray Student Publications

January is the season of New Year’s resolutions — greeting the new year and a new phase of life with a goal, aspiring for change and self-improvement that either ends in success or disappointment.
To some, New Year’s resolutions seem outdated and unnecessary. For others, resolutions offer a path for healing, self-care and generally bettering one’s self. 

This year, students across campus offered a number of motivations for creating resolutions or avoiding the tradition all together. Among the students who opted to create New Year’s resolutions, mental and physical well-being were a top priority, motivated by a genuine desire for an improved quality of life. 

“This year I hope to be more on top of my self-growth through many different activities. I want to start to journal my feelings and also be able to connect more with myself. I also have started working out regularly to help relieve stress,” said Ashley Jais, third-year BME.

“I decided to make resolutions, so I can improve on myself and get rid of old habits. I also wanted to be happier with the person I am and be able to grow as a person.”

To achieve these healthy lifestyles, some students took a more unorthodox approach. 

“So far for New Year’s resolutions, I want to eat more veggies and drink a cup of water a day. I chose my resolutions because I realized I was getting weaker, like I felt weaker and more sluggish, and Tik Tok has been suggesting more vegetables and water. So I thought why not eat some,” said Sneha Roy, second-year CS.

“I ate some and realized cheese and veggies are a great combination, plus cheese makes me thirsty so more water. Therefore this is all a big ploy to eat more cheese throughout the new year.”

Many students believe that while well intentioned, New Year’s resolutions can be unnecessary, and sometimes, holding oneself accountable can be difficult. 

“I only really have one [resolution]. That’s just to be more active. I normally don’t do them. Because you can do anything at any time of the year. Just because it’s the new year doesn’t mean you have to do anything,” said Molly Jaszcak, first-year CHBE. 

Other students agreed that New Year’s resolutions can be overwhelming and difficult to follow through. 

“I guess setting big goals for the year seems kind of useless to me because
I’ll probably just end up forgetting about it,” said Sara Delawalla, third-year EAS.

“I prefer to set smaller goals over shorter periods of time and kind of steadily get better at the things I want to get better at.” 

For some, even keeping track of small goals presented a challenge. 

“I wanted to floss more, but I haven’t found my floss since I came back, so it hasn’t been happening,” said Nicole Allen, first-year BME. 

Simi Bala, first-year CS, has had similar struggles. 

“Mine was to eat healthy, and I also haven’t done that,” Bala said.

Not all New Year’s resolutions end in disaster, though. 

“Mine was to get a better work-life balance. Last week, I did that, but we’ll see if that continues,” said Madeline Lombard, first-year CHBE. 

There was a clear consensus among students – do not take New Year’s resolutions too seriously. While it is a great mechanism for self-improvement, setting expectations too high or punishing yourself for a lack of accountability is more harmful than helpful. 

Taking care of yourself and having fun should be prioritized over strict regimens. If you struggle to keep to your resolution, you are not alone.  

“People who make resolutions don’t always follow them. I’m not trying to make goals and not follow them. That seems disappointing. That seems like a bad time for me,” Jaszcak said. 

Life changes can occur every day, without waiting for the next calendar year. Taking it slow and offering yourself grace when setting new goals is the best strategy for creating positive life changes. 

“It’s not to say that we won’t reach them. It’s early, it’s still January. I can’t assess my success in that amount of time,” Bala said. 

Allen agreed. 

“We have so much time,”
Allen said.