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Weight loss. The oftenshort-lived prototypical new year’s resolution. Based on the way ads for gym memberships and exercise equipment always get put on overdrive in the new year, this resolution frequently doesn’t stick around for long into a new year.
This begs an important question: Are new year’s resolutions still needed?
Before we can answer that, we should first ask what is the true purpose of these resolutions? Are they relics of a bygone era? Products of consumerism and the never-ending quest for the next new thing in life? An actual effort to improve oneself that ultimately falls flat mere weeks or months into the new year?
Naive inklings of hope and optimism for a better tomorrow? Or are they perhaps simply what their name implies: goals?
Kellogg Library student worker Sarah Eltiste spoke about her new year’s resolutions. She aimed for three main goals, laughing when she said, “one of them is to start working out,” while the others are to get good grades and to stay on her game. When I asked her how well her resolutions are going so far in 2020, Eltiste said she is doing pretty well with them. When posed with the question of whether or not she found resolutions valuable she replied, “I think new year’s resolutions are worth it. They give people something to work towards and think about throughout the year, rather than just not doing anything.”
I respectfully disagree. Harsh as it may sound, I believe new year’s resolutions no longer serve a productive purpose. They inherently limit when someone may or may not want to take action by placing the onus on the resolution-maker to make changes over the course of a short timeframe. For example, rather than the slow changes commonly recommended by fitness gurus and health experts (see nutritionist researcher Kris Gunnars’ weight loss articles on healthline.com), an unsustainable fast-weight-loss lifestyle and diet plan is often pushed by the consumer culture tied to the resolutions market.
On top of that, ringing in the new year is arguably still part of the holiday season. This means a lack of true and meaningful motivation after the lounging around, carbpacking and general overindulgence enjoyed by many people, myself included, throughout that season.
How can we realistically and practically overcome these humps posed by these inhibitions in the winding road towards our goals? Anticlimactic as it may sound, I believe there is no single solve-all answer to this question. Based on my own experience, the closest I can get to a universal answer is the following: look deep inside for where you are flawed (which, keep in mind, we all are) and then admit to yourself and accept that that part may need to change for the better. When you identify and solidify in your heart and mind what tangible or intangible thing needs to change, that is the first step towards identifying how to make that change so that you successfully make it stick around long into the new year and beyond.
I realize how self-help-y the previous paragraph sounds, but it’s true: for most problems, only you can identify and make the changes needed to improve your life, circumstances and all. Be proactive. Make small, gradual and sustainable changes as needed. Do the above to the best of your ability and you should soon see the results you’re looking for. We wish you the best in the pursuit of your goals, Cougars.