Advertise - Print Edition

Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Shopping for Truth: Resolve to be realistic

Published: January 18, 2008
Section: Opinions

Oh, another year gone, another batch of broken resolutions to stash away in our mental scrapbooks. First, I’d like to start off by wishing everyone a very happy New Year and hope that this one is your best yet! So, back to reality now as we all realize after eating all those yummy holiday foods and as the beginning of the new semester looms over us.

So, what to resolve for the New Year? I’m sure that many of you, like me, have put lots of thought into what you’d like to change for the New Year. A new year is like a new start with infinite possibilities and you can’t help but feel somewhat cleaner and lighter at the start of a new year. Whether 2007 was one of your worst or your best years yet, now we’re all in the same boat. 2008 can be anything you’d like it to be. But what is it about the coming of the New Year that always has us resolving to lose weight or stop whatever vices we really need to kick? And does anyone really kick those habits ultimately?

I must admit I have mixed feelings about New Year’s resolutions. In theory, I find them a great reflection on the optimism and idealism that’s so rarely found or followed through in today’s world. Who wouldn’t invite the opportunity to make a positive change in their lives? But in reality, New Year’s resolutions honestly get a bad rep sometimes. And I can see why. Because it’s sometimes rare that people follow through with these resolutions. We all promise ourselves we’re going to be better, stronger, skinnier, smarter…but do we really accomplish this? Rarely.

I guess it’s a never-ending cycle in a way. So how do we break the cycle of starting with good intentions and inevitably falling short every time? Be realistic, for a start. You’re going to break those revered resolutions because no one among us is perfect. But also be forgiving of yourself.

Well, if you’re anything like me, you’ve already broken your resolutions—several times. And no, I’m not embarrassed to admit that. But I think the fact that we make the resolutions in the first place is the most important part.

None of us are going to become the perfect person we envision ourselves to be or make over our personality to morph ourselves into flawlessness. So how about taking small steps that will catalyze the eventual bettering of ourselves? For instance, I’ll admit it, I have an extreme aversion to something I’d like to invite more into my life: vegetables. Now, all kidding aside, I’ve never been a salad person. And I’m not going to lie to you, I’ll never be one of those people who looks forward to a salad. It’s just not going to happen! I’ve tried it and hated it. I’ll find a way around it. I’ll try other fruits and vegetables and see what happens, but I’m not promising anything because, like all of us, I am an imperfect human being.

At this point in this column, you’re probably shaking your head asking yourself why you should be wasting your time listening to me talk about vegetables. But have faith people, there is a point to this story! My lifelong battle with vegetables and continuous annual resolutions to eat more of them has taught me something about myself-I hate vegetables. Now, as trivial as that may sound, this is what New Year’s resolutions, when chosen wisely, can do for us all. They teach us our strengths and weaknesses. They show us our limits and how we react to constraints. But really, I have many more important resolutions, but that’s for me to know and you to find out what they are. Hey, that way neither of us will know how I’m holding up.

So, don’t feel daunted by these resolutions—embrace them. Change, though I’ve previously expressed my aversion to it, can be a good thing. Take the time to reflect on 2007. Did you do something great that you’re proud of? Did you make some mistakes you regret now? Well, forget it! That’s it, move on. And when I say forget it, I don’t mean forget the good and the bad, but realize that you have a chance to make up for or improve yourself as a person in this new year.

New Year, new semester, new you. And if you’re perfectly pleased with your life and yourself, congratulations, because you’re an extreme rarity because we can all do something little to improve our lives and the lives of others. Like the old saying says, I will give peas a chance. Now it’s up to you to find something to give a chance to. Happy resolution hunting!