New Year’s resolutions
Ann Marie Jakubowski | Monday, January 20, 2014
I’ve always been just a little bit too into New Year’s resolutions. Without fail, I go overboard and make plans that are far too ambitious every Jan. 1. Then, when those start to look a bit out of reach, I reassess around midterms, or at the beginning of the summer, or right before the start of the new school year.
In my mid-Christmas break delirium this year, I set some goals that have me kicking myself now that I’m back in the real world. For some reason, I decided this would be the year that, among other things, I run the Holy Half, earn a 4.0, start learning French, read The New York Times daily, deepen the friendships I’ve already made and make a plan for what to do with the rest of my life beyond Notre Dame.
One week into the semester, my progress has been minimal. I’ve gone running twice, skimmed the Times front page three times and managed not to fall behind during syllabus week. I’m a bit underwhelmed by my own progress.
Maybe I set ambitious goals and subconsciously expect not to accomplish them, hoping any progress along the way makes me better off than where I’d be without the original goal. Maybe I enjoy the gratification of making long-term plans, even if I lack the discipline to work toward them day by day. Or maybe if I got up every morning with more energy and concrete motivation, this really could be the first time I accomplish each of my resolutions.
My inevitable problem with the resolutions I make is when I realize how much time I’ve wasted each day or how much I’ve failed to accomplish in a week. I start to feel foolish for setting the long-term goals in the first place. And to avoid future feelings of foolishness, I quit before I really get started on any one of the goals, just so I don’t have to think of it as a tally in the failure column.
In my experience, I overestimate what I can do in a week but underestimate what can be achieved in a year. Looking back on my life since this time last year, I’ve experienced changes I didn’t see coming at all, not even with my all-encompassing series of resolutions. And those resolutions from last year seem boring and obsolete because life in the meantime has taken me places I hadn’t prepared for. And lucky for me, it didn’t take my own plans into account when setting the course for the year ahead.
Maybe the only resolution I should make going forth into the rest of this semester, this summer and the inevitable beginning of my senior year is that this time next year, I want to be saying the year ahead will be the best of my life so far.
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The views expressed in the Inside Column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.