New Year, Same Me

New Year’s Eve was filled with confetti, champagne, and excitement. I stood with my family in Times Square, bundled up so tightly that my eyes were just barely peaking out above my scarf. “Ten! Nine! Eight! Seven! Six!” the crowd began to yell. The energy around us was electrifying. I squeezed my boyfriend's hand in delightful anticipation. “Five! Four! Three! Two! One!” The ball dropped and we kissed and smiled and danced around like idiots while surrounded by two million other people. Then, about five minutes into the new year I felt a sudden surge of anxiety creep up on me. What the hell has actually changed?

New Year's day was filled with questions, anticipation, and self-doubt. As I glanced over magazine articles about new year's resolutions and flipped through TV channels promising a better me this year, it occurred to me I didn’t really have any goals. I felt quite content sitting on my couch with a bagel and a cup of coffee, but all of a sudden everyone was telling me I had to change.

You don’t have to entirely reshape yourself during the new year. Goal setting is an important part of becoming a better version of the you that you already are, but often times we get carried away. You don’t have to start working out because all of a sudden all of your friends start going to gym. Trust me, by February the CCRB will be just as empty as it usually is throughout the semester. Think about yourself and what makes you happy. This year, try to make more time for those things.

It can be daunting to think about the path towards making yourself happier or smarter or fitter or whatever else you hope to achieve in your life. I’ve found that it’s a lot easier to think about what I’m going to do every day, week, and month to make myself happier, versus adhering to broad and cliched mantras.

For example, I’ve always liked the idea of keeping a journal. So for two minutes a day every day, I want to start journaling. I wrote “journal” on a sticky note and stuck it to my desk so that every morning when I wake up, that little adhesive paper square is keeping me accountable. It may be basic and totally cheesy, but it’s something I’ve always wanted to try.

I also set goals that give me something to look forward to, like every week getting coffee with someone new and every month watching one movie i’ve always wanted to see. I know that I tend to get very stressed out very easily, so instead of trying to fill my year with stuff to keep me in the library for longer, I decided to set goals that would make me have more fun. You don’t always have to be working towards that next big thing: the Ross application, the job interview, the college resume. It's okay to focus on taking care of yourself.

No matter what sort of goal you make this year, it’s best to set reasonable goals. For instance, don’t make your resolution to get a 4.0 this semester. Although that goal can always be at the back of your mind, with the variability in class difficulty, time commitments, and just the complications that come along with daily life, this goal is hard to achieve. Instead, try making a goal such as vowing to study for three hours after class every Wednesday. This is a much more controllable, feasible target.

Don’t make resolutions that intend to make you into someone you’re not. Don’t feel like you have to read more nonfiction if it really just bores you to death. Instead, think of things to fill the empty spaces in your life. Think of people you want to see more or even things you want to do less of. Think of foods or activities that you’ve always wanted to try. While resolutions are often implausible or just plain stupid, even the tiniest change in your everyday life can make a huge difference.