Whether it’s to eat healthier or to read 10 pages a day, New Year resolutions are used to create a blueprint for reinvention and, while in theory making them is a great method for personal growth, it also opens the door for the disappointment of unmet goals. For me, this disappointment transforms the positive nature of resolutions into a stressful bunch of expectations I let linger for the entire year.
But I’d be lying if I said I wouldn’t miss the process of creating a list of things I could do to become the person I hope to be. With that in mind, I had to ask myself an important question: why are these changes important to me? What is so significant about reading 10 pages a day? Is it to expand my mind or decrease screen time? What about eating healthier? Does it have to do with the number on the scale or to increase overall health?
It may seem like I’m overthinking it, but the closer I got to the truth behind my goals, the more I was able to tailor them into realistic expectations. So, with that said, here is my list of 2023 New Year’s resolutions:
Go for one walk outside per day
Walking is good for your body and mind and is even better when fresh air is involved. School can keep me cooped up in my room, bogged down by essays and tests, but allowing myself to breathe new air and exist in a new space will remind me that there is more to life than studying. This year, a walk has less to do with exercise and more to do with forcing me to explore Halifax and appreciate the beauty of going to Dal.
Read one book per month
I love reading, but school complicates my relationship with books. I have to read a lot of them for classes and, as many students can understand, being forced to read a book tends to take away from its fun. Also, choosing to read a book for fun raises the guilt-stricken—and unnecessary— question of whether it's a good use of time. If I can read this book, I have the time to read for class.
With all this in mind, I think setting the goal of reading one book for no one else but myself will not only allow me to get back into the fun of reading, but also help build a healthy relationship between my school life and my hobbies.
Try out journaling
There are so many things I’ve always wanted to turn into a habit, one of them being journaling. But each time I try I get hit with writer's block, thinking everything I write is unnecessary or “not fit” for the page. This year, all my resolutions share the trend of having multiple purposes, and this one does not stray. Journaling helps to conceptualize a feeling and provides an outlet for overwhelming thoughts, but it also forms a habit of self-appreciation. I won’t erase my thoughts or rip out pages, because if I’m writing it down (whether I know it or not) it is important.
Accomplish two of these resolutions
I can only plan for the time I can see. In other words, I can’t expect to like these resolutions by the fall, and I don’t think that’s a bad thing. Thoughts change, desires change, and that’s OK. Maybe adding reading to my schedule will be too stressful during the semester, and so it becomes less important. That doesn’t mean I failed—it just means my priorities have shifted. Acknowledging the shift and being OK with it is crucial to kick-starting this new and improved process of New Year’s resolutions.
2023 is a year of change. It can give life to outdated traditions, rebrand what we thought was lost in the dust of 2022—it’s a blank canvas ready to be painted. But it’s up to us to figure out what we’re painting, the colours we use, the image we create. We are our own artists. Resolutions may not be the savior to all our problems, but they do force us to look at ourselves more closely and appreciate all that we are—and that is the most important resolution of all.