Recently, I turned eighteen (thus, entering my nineteenth year) shortly before the Common Era of our Gregorian Calendar entered its 2,017th year. I’ve always been a huge supporter of New Year’s resolutions, but really just any resolutions in general – there is no bad time to try and improve yourself. Year after year, my resolutions have been mostly physical or superficial – eat healthy, exercise, get straight A’s, etcetera. However, this year was different.
I’m entering my first year of full-fledged legal adulthood in perhaps one of the most tumultuous times in American history. Not only can I start contributing to society as an adult, but I will start feeling the repercussions of my society as an adult. So, I figured that my New Year’s resolutions deserved to be more thoughtful and purposeful than ever before.
In 2017, I will read more for pleasure.
When I was young, I was a huge reader; I could effortlessly get lost in a novel and finish it in one afternoon. Over the years, I’ve gotten a little lazy and started choosing Netflix over my own intellect. I’ve decided to forgo my usual habit of watching an episode of the X-Files in bed to lull me to sleep every night in favor of one chapter of a book before bed every night. My Amazon wishlist will remain full of a constantly rotating cast of whichever bestseller I set my sights on next.
In 2017, I will cook more.
Having only completed one semester of college so far, I can attest to how monotonous and potentially unhealthy a constant schedule of dining hall-eating can be. And although I am proud to say that I didn’t fall victim to the Freshman Fifteen, I definitely could have been better about consciously choosing what food goes into my body. I genuinely enjoy cooking, and over time some friends and I have enjoyed a few nights of homemade meals and good conversation. This year, I plan on meal prepping and making a habit of packing my homemade lunches on the go.
In 2017, I will love without expectations.
This goes for both myself and others! Conditional love isn’t love at all – it is the root of resentment, hurt feelings, and judgement. By practicing understanding and compassion with my friends, loved ones, and even strangers, I will be opening myself up to the endless possibilities of human experiences. By practicing understanding and compassion with myself, I’ll finally be able to take a break from being so hard on myself (as I usually am;) I need to get better at remembering that it’s okay if I don’t feel my best or most confident 100% of the time – nobody does.
In 2017, I will save more.
Now that I have a part-time job, working 20 hours a week, I have a lot of financial mobility. With very limited opportunities to spend money (on anything other than food) while on campus, 2017 will be a great opportunity for me to beef up my savings account and invest in my future.
In 2017, I will be more mindful.
My anxiety gets the best of me in overthinking plans that are weeks or months in the future. Travel plans, exams, scheduling conflicts, and even mundane commitments – I can’t help but think through every possible worst-case scenario until I drive myself mad with worry. This year, I will practice a c’est la vie mentality liberally until it becomes second nature.
New Year’s Resolutions only take hold if you’re constantly evaluating yourself and taking stock of the effectiveness of your goals. Always keep what you’re working toward in sight. I know I’m working toward growing and maturing as a person, no matter how difficult it may be. How about you?