Welcome back, Villanova. It is 2008, and a new year means, of course, New Year’s resolutions.
Year after year, as the aging December switches over to the youthful January, we dish out our latest batch of resolutions. The batch, however, is not often a fresh one. Many of our resolutions simply end up repeating themselves year after year.
This is because we choose to create near-impossible goals for ourselves – goals embedded in personal gain that almost inevitably lead to failure. Instead, we should focus on more realistic goals that contribute to a greater sense of our own genuine happiness.
So what is it that makes our resolutions so impossible to keep? First and foremost, the expectations that we set for ourselves are irrationally high, thereby making it remarkably easy not to chastise ourselves when we fall short of our resolutions. Secondly, many of these resolutions contain a level of superficiality to them.
For example, the battle to lose weight makes us go to unnecessary extremes so that our bodies can match those of supermodels and actors seen in magazines and on TV. Beating ourselves up incessantly for not living up to a pre-set plethora of expectations takes a vicious toll on self-esteem and self-image. But it doesn’t have to be this way.
Life can seem like a competition at times – or rather a multitude of competitions. Questions of who’s most attractive, most popular and most likeable extend far beyond the borders of high school hallways.
Yet the power is in our own hands to create more positively-themed goals and standards to live by. Rather than simply “losing weight,” why not aim to stay in shape instead? Why not give ourselves more credit for at least making the effort to change ourselves?
This is not to say that one shouldn’t be ambitious with one’s resolutions. Ambition serves as a powerful fuel, motivating us to succeed. High standards are not what should be avoided.
Instead, we must re-evaluate what really makes us happy. Is it the extra couple of dollars you make during that grueling 9-5 summer job? Is the five pounds that you manage to put off thanks to the Special K diet? In a world of war, poverty and hunger, achievements like these are trivial. Rather than pounds lost or dollars saved, the truth of the matter is that there are more important things to cherish. In 2008 make a habit to appreciate life in all its glory every single little atom and particle of it.
Most resolutions should reflect and build upon making life better, for ourselves and for others.
Best of all, 2008 is the time to seize new opportunities and take advantage of a fresh start. Looking back at the old year, it is natural to reminisce and be nostalgic about the recent past, as it can be easy to find comfort and security in old memories. But it is also not uncommon to feel anxious or insecure about what’s to come further down the road – after all, we’re college students who are constantly being poked and prodded about life after graduation, which can drive anybody up the wall.
Our entire lives are ahead of us, but this does not have to cause unnecessary fear and stress. Rather, the prospect of what may come in the future ought to bring about excitement and anticipation. 2007 may have come and gone, but 2008 is here and ripe for the taking.
The song “Seasons of Love” from the well-known Broadway musical “Rent” asks its listeners, “525,600 minutes … How will you measure a year in the life?” It is truly a timeless question, eternally relevant to people of all ages and of all backgrounds. This time around, let’s ask ourselves “How will I measure 2008?” What will you make of it?
And what’s my resolution? In short, it’s time to embrace life and take it year by year – and let 2008 be that first step.
Brigid Black is a junior English and French major from Brooklyn, N.Y. She can be reached at [email protected]