Concerning You: Following up on New Year's Resolutions

By Simone Schenkel (Science & Technology Editor, Columnist) [?]

Published: April 23, 2009
Reprinted From The Windward Bridge

Following the New Yearís theme, Iíve decided to mix it up a bit and instead of just giving out tips, Iím going to go with that whole ďpractice what you preachĒ idea and use the tips myself, be it success or fail.

So youíve eaten every leftover; every pie, cake, and tart. Now what? It's the New Year, and you've not only some extra baggage, but all those things you said you'd get done in preparation for '09 have been placed in the back of your mind. Stuck in the New Yearís rut? You're not alone. But the thing that a lot of us donít realize is that itís all about the mentality. If youíre positive, and donít let things bog you down (i.e. a bad grade, a breakup, a negative comment,) youíre year is on the right track.

Here are 5 Steps to the year you always wanted, but never actually got around to fulfilling.

  1. Get a calendar. Three days into í09, I decided it was time to get off my duff and get things together. With that in mind, I went to Borderís, thinking of organization but not exactly knowing for what I was looking. I then came upon what happened to be the 50% off calendar section, and a light bulb went off. SALE! Just kiddingÖ I thought to myself, what a better way to get all those appointments and plans in order than on a calendar? Now I have to be honest, Iíve tried that calendar business before; past experiences include failing to keep everything together, finding a fault with a feature of the calendar and passing it off to a family member, and most commonly forgetting to write something down and then letting it sink down into that dark abyss we call the subconscious. However, for some reason something went off inside me saying that this was going to be the year I kept a calendar; a little New Yearís resolution I suppose. I cannot begin to tell you how helpful the thing is. I used to always feel like I was forgetting something; like there was something I had to do, someone I had to meet, or somewhere I had to be, and I could never put my finger on it. I would literally spend copious amounts of brain power trying to figure out what it was that I was supposed to be doing at that certain time. Now all I have to do is look at my calendar, and I feel the safety of knowing that I know exactly where or with whom I need to be, and I donít have to pick my brain silly. The thing with us adolescents is that we always plan way too much, and many times, donít remember our engagements. So as a favor to yourself, get a calendar, and write all of your plans, specials days, etc on it. Iím telling you, it works. So far Iíve managed to keep everything in order, and I have yet to forget an appointment (knock on wood.)
  2. Study right. I almost hate to bring it up, but studying well can make or break your desire for a good new year. Although we donít want to admit it, with a new year comes Midterms. Unfortunately, after winter break ends, testing is just around the corner. Many of us procrastinate until the last minute and then panic. This year, I have vowed to study much more in advance. Not only does this prevent stress, but it also creates better study habits for the future.
  3. Donít sweat the small stuff. If thereís anything that can make a good year go bad, itís letting the little things get to you. I do it all the time, but thinking about the value of doing so, there really is no point in dwelling on something that isnít in your power to control. In efforts to not let things affect me, I am going to not waste my time thinking about that digital camera with the auto focus that Iíve been wanting but refuses to go on sale. Clearly, thereís nothing I can do to change the camera from being out of my budget, and instead of sitting there thinking about how the world just does not want me to have that camera, Iím going to be rational. Itís not the end of my life if I donít have the camera, and with this economy, I probably shouldnít be thinking about buying it in the first place. So Iím going to forget about it because it is just a small unnecessary fixture in my list of desires, and thatís that. So much of our time is spent thinking about things that are out of reach, or the little things that bother us, that we donít really see the world around us. So you didnít get the A you were hoping for on that math test. Itís really not the end of the world, and if you spend your life thinking about what it was you did wrong, or why God is out to get you, youíre just going to feel even worse, and on top of which all the little good things that happen are just going to fly right by your eyes. Bottom line: donít waste time on the stuff you canít control.
  4. Set dates. So here it is, 2009, and Iíve finally decided on my New Yearís resolutions. In the past, Iíve thought about exercising more, eating healthier; all those obvious goals that never really do get fulfilled. This year, I thought about why it was that all the stuff I had in store for myself just didnít get done. Iíve come to the conclusion that the reason all my goals got set aside was because there was no deadline; no definite period of time assigned for which to get something done. Without a specific date, thereís too much leeway, and things just get pushed aside until further notice. So, to remedy my previous mistake, I am going to set a date for each of my goals, leaving a reasonable (but not too reasonable, because thatís when things get forgotten) amount of time to fulfill them.
  5. Donít wait until the last minute. If you know something is coming up, get right on it, or at least start preparing for it. In the past, Iíve rushed things like birthday presents, holiday gifts, studying, etc and then get upset when I know I could have done better. So, for the New Year, I am going to get things done when I find out about them, which really takes the pressure off, and gives you more time to do your best. No more belated gifts, no more late birthday cards, no more poorly-studied for quizzes and tests. This is the year to do everything you wanted, so donít wait any longer.
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