Old habits die hard. It’s extremely difficult to break a life pattern or routine you are accustomed to. The unknown is frightening, which leads us to glue ourselves to our comfort zones. Nonetheless, each December, we all sit down to write a list of our New Year’s Resolutions in the hopes that this year, we will rip apart that blanket of security we have created for ourselves. This is usually for the better: maybe your goal is to exercise more, fight less with your family, or spend more time doing what makes you happy. I myself am a proponent of New Year’ Resolutions, and always craft a comprehensive list of goals for myself at the end of December that I will begin to accomplish on January first.
Not to be pessimistic, but my New Year’s Resolutions from last year remains untouched. Honestly, I can probably find an unfinished list of resolutions from years ago that contains similar goals as the one I wrote for 2021, and will write shortly for 2022. I am constantly trying to improve myself, try new things, and explore the unfamiliar. However, I seem to get trapped in an annual cycle of empty promises and doubt. I find that New Year’s Resolutions are counterproductive; rather than a motivating list of expectations for the new year, they begin to feel like a responsibility. We struggle to accomplish a specific set of tasks within a period of time while distracted by work, school, family, friends, and the realities of everyday life.
I respect and envy those that stick by their New Year’s Resolutions. I would consider myself a dedicated and driven individual, so it is out of character for me to brush important things aside. At the same time, I get overwhelmed very easily by tasks that hang over my head. I bury the list deep in my brain until it resurfaces, untouched and ready to be added to for the new year.
Although I do not particularly believe in the prospect of New Year’s Resolutions, I do believe that personal growth and change are possible and within reach. Rather than waiting until New Year’s is around the corner, I try to take action in the moment to make the life changes that I crave. Specifically relating to adjusting to college, I had a list in my mind of the goals I hoped to complete by the end of first semester. I hoped to become more comfortable in the Tulane community, discover places to spend time when I need a well-deserved break, make great friends, and explore the unique aspects of the city. In the little time I have had here, I have been able to accomplish some of my goals; however, I learn new things everyday, and continue to develop as a person as time progresses.
Therefore, old habits don’t need to die hard. We all have the power within us to make effective changes in our lives to become the best version of ourselves. Rather than making a list, checking it twice, and letting it wither away in the back of our minds, make today the day you make a difference in your life. Live in the present; there is no point in dwelling on the unfinished list of resolutions from last year when time has moved on.
One of my new college friends told me something that stuck with me and resonates with this article: good things happen to good people. Our morals, ambitions, and goals will help us achieve greatness. So crumple up that list, throw it in the trash, and stop constraining yourself to false expectations. Break the pattern and have a happy new year.
Cover photo by: Bailey Germain and Canva (https://www.canva.com/)