Resolutions Revisited

New Year's Resolutions No January 1st would be complete without a set of well-intentioned New Year's Resolutions. Almost from the beginning of time, it seems, humans have regarded the first day of the new year as a day of fresh beginnings, a time to reinvent oneself and one’s life.  One can almost imagine the prehistoric caveman stumping out of their caves on the first of the year and declaring, “Me learn to make fire this year.”  Even at the Happiest College in America, we still all have those little things that bother us that we’d like to change.  And although most resolutions don’t even last as long as a Champagne hangover (another grand tradition of the New Year), 2012 just wouldn’t feel complete without making at least a few.  This year, though, let your first resolution be to make better New Year's Resolutions: ones that matter, and which, with a little effort, you can keep.  Here are a few suggestions for goals for the New Year… and a few classic resolutions that you can burn along with the mistletoe.

4 to Ditch:

1)   Lose weight Unless your weight is endangering your health, stop stressing about the freshman (or sophomore, or junior…) fifteen!  As long as you are eating healthful foods and exercising, and your body feels good, save the weight loss resolution for your middle-aged self.  For now, enjoy the fact that there are five dining halls that feed you delicious meals three times a day--- this will never happen again for the rest of your life, I promise.  Embrace the fact that you are young, that for a brief period your body can get away with a few pizza binges now and then.  Most of all, embrace your body and your self, and have fun without obsessing over a meaningless number on a scale.  Live it up!

2)   Get an “A” in every class Such a broad and ambitious goal is guaranteed to create stress.  It’s January, you don’t even know what your classes are and how difficult they may be, so why make a blanket resolution that might be hard to uphold?  Instead, make smaller goals you know you can keep, like: “This year, I will read the books in my class instead of using Sparknotes for all of them,” or “I will buy an alarm clock so I don’t miss my 8am classes this semester.”  Keeping it simple is less overwhelming, and little steps can lead to a boost in grades more effectively than one large goal.

3)   Land the perfect job/internship Even if you are a junior or senior, remember that you are still young!  Going a school with as many ambitious over-achievers as CMC, it’s easy to believe that getting the perfect internship starting freshman year is the norm.  Many people don’t get their first job until long after graduation, and still wind up employed and happy in the long run.  This year, ditch the job-search stress, even if you’re a senior.  If the perfect job happens to wander into your life, fabulous!  But if not, let yourself spend more time enjoying life and pursuing your passions, rather than worrying about the future.

4)   Find a soul mate Again, this is college.  I’m not saying it doesn’t happen: I am one of the biggest romantics you’ll ever meet.  But setting your heart on finding true love this year can lead to much pain and disappointment.  Resolve instead to build friendships and relationships that will last a lifetime, and to be open to love if it throws itself in your path.

6 to Consider:

1)   Be more eco-friendly In our era of global climate change and economic difficulties, you can be a huge force for change with only a tiny bit of effort.  Make the little changes that you’ve been meaning to make: don’t let the water run while you’re brushing your teeth, turn off the lights when you leave a room and turn the heat down while you are out of your dorm.  These seemingly insignificant acts will add up and as you practice keeping this resolution you will find them becoming absentminded habits. It's easy being green.

2)   Get moving Gyms and personal trainers love the beginning of a New Year, because one of the most common resolutions that always comes up is to exercise more.  While a resolution like “get ripped” or “lose weight” can be counter productive, “getting moving” is a way to ensure that your year is a fun, healthy and productive one.  Not all exercise is boring, and it doesn’t have to involve lifting weights or running at the gym.  Instead of pledging your allegiance to the elliptical this year, find something you love to do already, like hiking or surfing, and resolve to do it more! There are so many places to go around Claremont too!

3)   Start things early If you made a resolution on January 1st, you’re already on track for this one.  Instead of letting time slip away from you while perfecting your procrastination skills this semester, try getting things done ahead of time.  Here’s an equation for those mathematically minded out there: Less procrastination=less stress= doing better= being happier.  A great way to ensure that you keep this resolution is by getting organized right away this year: get a planner, a calendar, and some colored pens and make it fun.  Sounds simple, but it will pay off more than you can imagine.

4)   8 Hugs a Day Ellie Beckett's article 8 Hugs a Day to a Better World inspired the 4th New Year's Resolution to consider. Claremont Graduate Professor Dr. Paul Zak (a.k.a. “Dr. Love”), found that hugging releases a chemical in the brain known as Oxytocin, which "helps us feel empathy, experience love, and connect to one another." So spread some love this year and make your New Year's Resolution to give 8 hugs a day and help build that better world.

5)   Learn something new I know, you’re in college, isn’t it all supposed to be about learning new things?  Knowledge doesn’t all come from books and professors, though.  Learn something you’ve always been curious about: take a cooking class, try karate for PE instead of going to the gym to jog, go bungee jumping or learn to play the guitar.  Explore and enjoy.  There are so many opportunities to try new things at CMC: you never know when you’ll stumble across a true passion.

6)   Get money smart If you can keep this resolution this year while you are in college, still under the cozy monetary wing of your parents, your adult self will thank you later.  Try changing little things: keep track of your flex dollars in a notebook so that you aren’t surprised when you go to buy your twelfth latte of the week at the Motley and discover you’ve spent yourself dry.  If you ha20ve a job, keep track of your earnings and deposit a specific portion of the money you make into a savings account instead of spending it right away.  Just becoming more aware of your money intake and output will help you be more responsible and successful later in life.  Read Kevin Burke's article on Personal Finance 101 to get you started.

So, what are my New Year's Resolutions this year?  Make better resolutions, and embrace everything 2012 has to offer.  Oh, and write more articles for the Forum.  Here’s to the Happiest Year Yet!

What are your New Year's Resolutions? Let us know in the comment section.

Read some of the New Year's Resolutions from last year's Forum staff. How did they do?