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New Year’s Resolutions (A Frightful Phenomenon)

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New Year’s Resolutions (A Frightful Phenomenon)

A few days ago, as I embarked on my 28th semester at Newman, I was once again faced with a terrible question by well meaning teachers and friends. “What is your New Year’s resolution?” While this inquiry may not seem harmful, I was aghast and was forced to think quick on my feet. I had forgotten to make a New Year’s resolution. Many of you may have found yourself in a similar position, the seconds ticking by as you rack your brain for an adequate yet original answer that made you seem both thoughtful and creative. You might have copped out with a common answer like, “I am going to be healthier this year,” or you may have suddenly decided you were going to become a musician and embrace a hidden desire to play the drums.

The trouble with this question is:  you are suddenly being asked to reveal a fault, an area of weakness, or an inherent lack of ability in a public setting where you’ll apparently be held accountable for being “better.” You might even have the unfortunate experience of being blindsided with follow up questions like “What inspired this?” or “How do you plan to do that?” So you suddenly have to design a fitness plan you know you won’t follow past January 15th or resolve to play the drums for two hours every Saturday.  Even worse, someone weeks later might spark up another unfortunate conversation by asking – all too casually – about your progress towards your goal.

So I wonder, why are you expected to become a new and improved version of yourself when the calendar rolls around to January 1st, and why does your self-improvement get to be the business of all within earshot? I am not inherently opposed to goal setting, but I BEG you to STOP asking what my New Year’s Resolution is!

If you too have experienced this frightful phenomenon, take the poll below, and feel free to put an answer in your back pocket for when next year rolls around.

What is the best New Year's resolution?

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