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Are you committed enough?

by The Concordian January 10, 2012
Are you committed enough?

New Year’s resolutions are commitments that people make, promises to themselves for the upcoming year to improve certain areas of their lives. Some pledge to lose bad habits, some want to create good ones. The Romans started off each year by making promises to the god Janus, for whom January is named. It’s hard to say whether resolutions made today carry as much conviction as they did then, but there are some people out there who see them through to the very end. Here are two students who see resolution-making in a very different light.

Pro: Daniel J. Rowe, Staff writer

The clock strikes twelve, the ball drops, people raise their glasses and begin a new year; some resolve to change, some do not. The New Year’s resolution is under attack. Some see it as a stupid waste of time that they are just going to break in the end, so why do it anyway?
Why try to do something positive in your life if you will just break your resolution in a week?
The answer to the question is this: the act of trying has value.
Why not resolve to change? Why not think of one thing you would like to do differently next year? Why not make a resolution? There is no ‘judge of the resolution’ waiting for you to screw up so they can sentence you to jail. The resolution is a personal attempt at improvement. There is no one watching. If there is, then they are a much bigger loser than you are for breaking your New Year’s resolution.
It is that moment of resolve which makes a New Year’s resolution special. It is in trying to better ourselves where we succeed.
Last year, I made a resolution to read the entire Thomas Hardy cannon. I had read a few of his books, and thought that over the year I could read the rest. Did I fail? Of course I did.
Was it worth it? Yes. Even though I did not finish the fourteen books I set out to, I read whatever I could. The act of trying produces the value of a resolution. We cannot always win everything. We will not always succeed, and this is fine. We either resolve to do something positive, and even if it lasts only a month, a week, an hour or a half a minute, at least we made an attempt.
It is better than sitting smugly on a beanbag chair condescending to others who we want to fail.
R.P. McMurphy (Jack Nicholson) bets the other mental patients in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest that he can lift a water fountain and throw it through a wall, so he can go downtown to watch the World Series. All the patients bet against him and wait for him to fail. He tries to lift a fountain he clearly cannot, and fails. He loses the bet. “But I tried didn’t I goddammit,” he says. “At least I did that.”

Con: Pauline Mauche, Contributor 

This year I will get into shape, give up smoking and drinking, get a new job, set up a budget, find a boyfriend, learn how to play guitar, volunteer, complete assignments on time, sleep early and lose weight. No seriously, do you believe all that? Because I don’t.
At one time in their lives, most people have made one of these new year’s resolutions. If you are one of them and didn’t succeed, don’t feel ashamed. Researchers have found that there is an 80 per cent failure rate when it comes to keeping those resolutions. It turns out it’s damaging to not reach a goal that we set for ourselves.
New Year’s resolutions are harmful because it is the wrong way to change your lifestyle. It makes no sense stopping everything at the same time. Can you imagine trying to give up wine, cigarettes and chocolate in the same week?
Iphone applications exist to help you with New Year’s resolutions, such as EatBetter, GoalGetter, Munch 5-a-Day or Monumental, which counts the stairs you have climbed. I know Steve Jobs made miracles, but we’re not quite there yet. These apps have failed when scientists have had to prove that they change health behaviors.
On AntiResolution.com, they remind us that resolutions are made only to be abandoned. Instead, the site proposes small daily goals that are significantly more attainable. Did you know that sleeping could make you lose weight? Seven to nine hours of sleep each night regulates appetite and increases bone density. If you want to save money, start brown bagging your lunch right now. Brown bagging a lunch from home only costs about $3.
These are tiny steps people can take to make small, but meaningful changes in their lives, without risking major disappointment.
Maybe you can’t make resolutions, but you can train yourself to form a new habit step by step and this is how you can really accomplish your goal. Self-awareness is the only way to know about your willpower flaws and fixing them. Concentrating on one simple goal at a time is the key to success.

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