Staffers evaluate failed New Year’s resolutions: staying focused

Written by Grace Ding

Sitting on my bed in the final hours of 2014, I scrolled through Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, laughing at witty jokes about New Year’s resolutions. I wondered if I too should join the millions of people worldwide and set a few myself. I’d never done it be- fore, and I certainly had never believed in their usefulness; however I remember deciding that night that I wanted my 2015 to be better than my 2014, and that a few New Year’s resolutions probably wouldn’t hurt.

Without really thinking any of them through, I made a mental list of everything I wanted to be better at in the new year. Included in that excessively long list were two of the most popular resolutions worldwide—spend less time on social media and be more focused. My naive 2014 self thought that setting these goals would somehow push me towards success in 2015 and ultimately bring me a level of happiness in life I had always seeked.

However, as I broke one resolution after another and found that my carried-over struggles from 2014 were as insurmountable as ever, I went on a downwards spiral of constant disappointment and frustration. It was the second semester of freshman year, and my motivation for school and anything else was slipping even more than before. It seemed impossible to ever be productive and focused, so the time I wasted on social media naturally increased as well. I obsessed over and became hopeless about how high school was still so far from ending. It goes without saying that I was incredibly unsatisfied with that semester, and when it finally drew to a close, I wasn’t even grateful that I had dragged myself through.

Although summer break was definitely fun and relaxing, the dreaded return to school
brought me back to my previous state of mind. First semester of sophomore year was characteristically uneventful and stressful, and the line between simply wanting to seem indifferent and actually not caring became even more hazy. However, as 2015 slowly drew to a close, I was able to reflect. I was the only one to blame for not following through with any of my goals. I shouldn’t have expected my overwhelming number of ambitions and vague resolutions to pave a magical path to happiness.

Even so, looking back, although I know that they brought me the opposite of happiness, I can also say that my mistakes helped me learn. Instead of wishing on a whim to become a better person in every aspect of the word, those wanting to benefit from New Year’s resolutions should settle only on one or two specifics, and make a realistic plan to see them through.

So for anyone who made or didn’t make resolutions this New Year, it’s important to remember that goals in life can be made under any circumstances; yet the meaningful ones are only those you put an effort in and learn something from, even if you don’t end up achieving them exactly the way you hoped to.