New Year’s resolutions just don’t work

Published 8:06 am Thursday, December 30, 2010

Column: Ashley Stewart, Guest Column

Growing up I don’t think I ever understood the meaning of New Year’s resolutions, and I am still not sure I do today as a college student.

Ashley Stewart

I understand on Jan. 1 some individuals begin a commitment to changing their lifestyle by tossing a bad habit or improving their attitude to better their lives.

However, I don’t understand how people can rely on one day to make a change for an entire year. Why Jan. 1? Why not pick a random day in the middle of a random month to start a new beginning?

I recently turned 20 years old and on my birthday my grandpa told me the older I get, the faster times goes. I am learning that every day. Time is a precious gift. Unexpected things happen each day and sometimes time is gone and you don’t get to wait until the New Year to make a change. Once time is spent, you can’t spend it again.

I understand for some individuals it is easier to pick the first day of the year to reflect and step forward toward improving life. I am guilty myself of putting things off. For example, when I was at school I told myself next semester I would use the new workout facilities more and make more time to do enjoyable things. Now looking back I don’t understand why I decided to wait. I could have easily taken the time to better myself right then.

I don’t believe in New Year’s resolutions. I don’t believe an individual needs to wait until the beginning of a new year to make a new beginning. Don’t wait until next year to do something that could better your life, do it now.

My goals have always surrounded my current priorities: get on the varsity soccer team, get good grades in school, graduate with honors, go to a college and major in something I love. Goals surrounding things that would temporarily make my life better, and maybe that is why I don’t make New Year’s resolutions.

Although I don’t create New Year’s resolutions for myself, I do set goals for myself. I do want to take good care of my body, remain optimistic and cherish the people around me. Those are things that will make my life better in the long run.

Oftentimes I hear of people on New Year’s coming up with these over-the-top goals to achieve like losing their winter bulge or quitting smoking. The individuals then become disappointed and discouraged when they fail after a couple weeks.

It is better to start off small. Take baby steps to achieve a master goal. That way they feel like they are truly being rewarded for what they’ve worked for.

If your goal is to lose 20 pounds this year, then start off by creating an exercise plan and eating a healthier and well-balanced diet. Slowly build to losing 20 pounds. I have learned quitting something “cold turkey” will generally lead to failure, and the goal will continue to be pushed back to the following year until it is too late. Don’t wait.

To those of you who are making a New Year’s resolutions for 2011, I wish you the best of luck. Don’t put off bettering yourself.

Ashley Stewart is a student at St. Thomas University in St. Paul.