Checking in on New Year’s Resolutions

It can be hard to maintain our resolutions we set back in January, so let’s focus on what we can actually achieve this year.

Looking back, now almost three months into 2021, individuals may find themselves struggling to maintain their New Years’ resolutions. During a regular year, these goals would seem more plausible to abide by, however, 2021 is not a normal year. On top of the deadly pandemic that has been tearing its way across the world, the racial and social injustice that plagued the United States is also an ongoing hardship. Despite the desperate need for a reset, we entered the new year facing many of the same challenges as the year prior. This is why it is important to revisit our goals so that not only are they achievable but they are also not taxing on our mental health. 

When setting goals, it is important to consider what will make us the happiest. This may seem obvious to some, however, more often than not, people do not properly do this. A lot of the time, individuals will set resolutions such as restrictions on food or saving money but end up not following through because life seems to get in the way of completing them. It is very important to recognize our boundaries and what we will realistically be able to achieve. Sophomore Vanessa Reger feels as though it is important to set basic goals so one does not feel guilty if they do not achieve them fully.

“We all mess up sometimes,” says Reger. “One goal I set was to be more mindful of my actions and try to be cognizant of the ways in which they affect myself and others. I made a point to consider goals that may be difficult but in the long run, would help me work on self-love and improvement.” Considering the state of the world, focusing on ourselves this year and attempting to better our own mental health is very important. 

In other cases, some individuals may feel as though they want to be more sociable in order to improve their happiness. For sophomore Miah Cramer, she does not normally do resolutions, however, she decided to take on a different approach this year and be more open to trying new things.

“My New Year’s resolution is to say yes to more things because too many times I just stay in my comfort zone and I realized that life is too short to not do so,” says Cramer. “Sometimes I forget but then someone will ask me if I want to grab dinner or get coffee and then I will remember the resolution and follow through and that usually just works. I get satisfaction from having a good time that I would have otherwise missed out on, so I get excited for the next time.”

Other SLU students feel the same about wanting to connect more with others this year. The toll that COVID-19 has taken on individuals is immense and many people find themselves feeling isolated and lonely during this ongoing time. A Harvard Graduate School initiative called Making a Care Common indicates that around 61 percent of individuals in the age range of 18-25 have reported being lonely frequently during the pandemic. Richard Weissbourd, the faculty director of Making a Care Common explains that many young people may have also felt lonely prior to the pandemic due to dealing with life-changing decisions and the current social climate that focuses on grades and personal achievement amongst other stressful aspects. Add a deadly virus on top of this, individuals can begin to feel secluded. For this reason, it is important to go easy on ourselves and attempt goals that are positively impactful. 

Sophomore Taylor Stalling talks about having the tendency to cut herself off from the world when things get stressful which is what prompted her to make resolutions to make more friends. 

“Friends make me happier and give me an outlet from stress,” says Stalling. In order to fulfill her goal, Stalling meets up with friends for safe get-togethers and also is more open to meeting new classmates. While Zoom classes do not provide the personal aspect of in-person classes, it is still possible to reach out to fellow classmates through the chat button. Exchanging phone numbers and possibly creating a groupchat is a good way to stay connected with others during this time. 

Additionally, if one is finding it difficult to maintain the goals they set up for themselves, they can also refer to a support system. “I have worked to reach out to more people for support, guidance and general accountability which has been hard because I worry about judgment but it has been helpful,” says Reger. Having someone to trust with keeping an individual accountable to personal goals can also aid in bettering one’s mental health. 

The whole point of setting goals is to ultimately better oneself. Instead of stating broad resolutions, going forward, try to focus on what will be possible in a practical sense. Remember: life is just as hectic as it was in 2020, so let’s not be too hard on ourselves.