Make your resolutions matter, no matter how small

Ale Benjamin, Managing Editor

We do it every January. We shout out a countdown from ten, watch the ball drop and prepare to scream “Happy New Year!” at midnight to welcome in 12 months of new experiences, challenges and accomplishments.

But after the poppers are popped and the champagne is put away, there comes the less anticipated part of any new year: making resolutions.

There are those who have their lists penciled down from the start of December, and those who forgo the idea of a New Year’s resolution all together. Many think the effort to plan them is a waste that will only leave them disappointed and defeated.

Perhaps they have a point. Forbes Magazine reports that just 8 percent of people keep the New Year’s resolutions they make. Maybe because most involve lofty, vague goals that require consistent time and dedication, like losing weight or getting out of debt.

I once saw all New Year’s resolutions that way. I never bothered making them simply because I didn’t see their point or a way to accomplish them.

But then, my freshman year, my Latin teacher asked my class to write down our New Year’s resolutions. As we struggled, tapping our pencils, she decided to help by sharing her fool-proof resolution philosophy with us.

Her New Year’s resolution always involved a task she needed to get done, but one that was manageable and she knew she could accomplish quickly. That way, she never let herself down, and she could embark on the year feeling accomplished and empowered.

Her resolution the year before, for example, had been to organize all her turtlenecks by color.

She had it done the next day.

Simple as it was, her idea transformed my outlook. A New Year’s resolution doesn’t need to be something that will change your life or conquer the world, but it’s an important way to set goals for yourself, check in on your life and give yourself just a little self esteem boost, no matter how small.

In years following that class, I resolved simply to clean my car and eat breakfast every day, neither of which have made me fabulously wealthy or given me the body of a runway model, but both of which were just as meaningful personal changes.

Besides, if you keep your goals manageable and specific, there’s nowhere to go but up.