Keep it up: How to maintain momentum in the new year

We tend to hit the ground running with all our goals, only to stagger—how can we actually stick to them?

This year, my roommate and I decided to get a headstart on goal-setting. In November, we pulled out the whiteboard and boldly filled it with countless goals, all with the intention of “getting our life together.” In retrospect, many (if not all) were pretty unachievable. My personal favourite: our promise to climb Mount Royal five times per week. Yeah, right. 

I think we’re all familiar with this cycle. The new year is synonymous with a fresh start, a fact that’s almost too cliché to write about: gym memberships, new diets and promises to break bad habits transform into February failures. The shooting stars turn out to be meteors and burn up quicker than they appeared. This phenomenon isn’t just true with the new year; it also applies to new beginnings at school (hello, winter semester). So where does all our initial enthusiasm go, and can we reclaim this energy to actually accomplish our goals? 

First off, it’s important to understand why we lose momentum. When it comes to resolutions, the most obvious reason is that we simply expect too much of ourselves. This can be explained by a phenomenon called the “empathy gap.” The Decision Lab explains that this is the “tendency to underestimate the influence of varying mental states on our own behavior and make decisions that only satisfy our current emotion, feeling, or state of being.” So when we made our Mount Royal resolution, we were crazed by enthusiastic energy and forgot how it actually feels to be tired. 

To carry through on your promises, you need to be realistic with yourself. It’s always tempting to imagine ourselves as super disciplined, high-achieving people, but that’s often a bit of a stretch. As busy students with countless external stress factors, we have to be honest with ourselves and realize that time and motivation are difficult to come by. This doesn’t mean we shouldn’t set goals, rather that we should consider how our goals actually fit into real life. Start small and make an attainable plan. Keep yourself accountable by setting small milestones and keeping track of achievements. Gradually (and with great patience), these will build and snowball. 

When it comes to the new semester, the same principle applies. I start every semester with the idea that I’ll be an absolute academic weapon, doing all my required readings and completing every project in advance. Instead of setting such vague, unrealistic goals, I’ll aim to stretch this enthusiasm out and actually make a plan for myself. Maybe I’ll aim to complete “most” of my readings, schedule my time day by day, and see where I can go from there. 

In case you were wondering: since November, we have climbed Mount Royal a grand total of zero times. Maybe we could choose a hill instead, or reduce our goal down to one time per week. Or maybe choose a new goal entirely. Here’s the funny thing, though—with all this time I’ve spent thinking about how I haven’t climbed the mountain, I could have just gone and climbed it by now.


A look inside Montreal’s Lunar New Year Market

Did you know that the Chinese pictographic for the rabbit is 兔?

Sunday, January 22, 2023 marked the beginning of the Lunar New Year which highlights the year of the Rabbit.

In Chinese culture, people strongly believe that it is destined to influence the year and the people born in it. For reference, people born in the years 2023, 2011, 1999, 1987, 1975, 1963, 1951 and 1939 are associated with the Rabbit zodiac. Last year was the year of the Tiger. The rabbit is the fourth Chinese zodiac animal out of twelve.

You might be curious about what exactly the rabbit symbolizes in Chinese culture. Well, it embodies energy with a focus on relaxation, quietness and contemplation.

In the Gay Village, in the downtown Montreal area, Montrealers rang in the new year with a variety of activities. One of the activities was a free-to-attend, one-day-only holiday market organized by the Montreal Hong Kong Cultural Learning Society.

According to The Old Farmer’s Almanac, the Lunar New Year in Asia falls after the second new moon which occurs after the winter solstice. That means the Lunar New Year can happen anytime between January 21 and February 20.

Upon entering the market space, visitors saw a decorative cherry blossom tree and a table nearby. The table had a bunch of markers and pens on it for visitors to write their wishes for the upcoming new year on cards with the purchase of an item at the market.

Wishing tree where guests could leave their wishes for the new Lunar New Year. DALIA NARDOLILLO/ The Concordian

Various sweet smells wafted throughout the market. The vendors were selling food that was being freshly made to order on-site. Some of those sweets included bubble waffles, Japanese and Tawainese wheel cakes, and much more.

The market not only offered lots of variety in terms of things to buy, but it also offered interactive booths where guests could try their hand at Chinese calligraphy. 

I was enticed to try my hand at Chinese calligraphy and learned that you begin with the horizontal strokes first, and then do the downstrokes. I gave it a couple of tries at writing down some Chinese pictograms until my hands got stained with ink.

The other interactive booth included a dice game with a Fish-Prawn-Crab.

All the vendors present at the market were bursting with energy and the excitement for the year of the Rabbit could be felt throughout the room.

If you celebrate the Lunar New Year, we wish you peace, health and prosperity for this new year!


A Letter to Yourself

Dear Me,

The pandemic was not kind to you this past year, but it could have been worse — yet another bullet you somehow managed to dodge by the skin of your teeth, for now. You still managed to reinvent yourself and take on another challenge by embarking on this whole university gig and starting a new job, all while running a business.

Who would have thought you’d be starting your first year as an undergraduate student this late in your life? You barely passed high school some 23 years ago, yet here you are, following a dream you never even had the courage to admit you had, and crushing the goals you initially set for yourself to boot. Who would have thought you had it in you? Surprise, you do.

You’ve had a lifetime of hardships and have hustled and fought for everything you’ve gotten. You’re used to being thrown into the deep end without a life jacket, yet you manage to keep your head above water. So, this year, how about you just aim for easy? I know, I know. It sounds radical for someone like you to take the “easy” approach, but try it. Instead of resolutions and long-term goals for 2022, try something new and give yourself a break. Stop trying to find things about yourself that need to be worked on, changed, or improved!

You’re your own worst critic and this year, I hope you see the greatness within you, and see yourself through a much clearer and loving lens.

You CAN do it all, but allow yourself the luxury of not needing to do it all and be okay with that. This year, take a sick day, turn off the distractions around you, and binge watch Who’s the Boss? reruns in pyjamas and take that long overdue vacation. Most importantly, live in the moment, and stop trying to be Superwoman. You’re not impressing anyone by burning yourself out.

Goals are important, and challenges are exciting, but don’t forget to savour the journey in the process. If these past couple of years have taught you anything, it’s that everything is temporary.

Chill out, woman. You’ve got this. Maybe not every day, but you’ve got this.


My Glorious Self.

Dina Bastounis, first-year journalism student.


Dear Rhea,

It’s 2022. So, I hope you’ve already rolled your eyes at those “new year, new me” posts all over social media, considering how overused they feel lately. I think that every day is a new start, and you can be a new you whenever you want. Also, change takes time and that’s okay too. You don’t need to change just because the clock turned to midnight, and suddenly everyone starts writing down their New Year’s resolutions.

Right now, with how things are, nothing is really new. It’s a lot of the same, but that doesn’t mean 2022 can’t be a good year for you.

You have a lot of good right now, and that can help you forge a great path ahead. Please don’t be worried if it’s taking more time than you would like.

There is one thing you do need to work on, and that is just letting go. You hold onto things too much, and sometimes it’s fine to take a break. That’s what this letter is: a break. An example of self-care.

Be you. Be your oddball self, no matter if people hate it.

You have always been the black sheep in the family. But you have also been able to laugh about it, and enjoy that. You care a little less now, and your son will appreciate that his mom is just a nerdy weirdo.

Since you like lists, I figured I would make you a 2022 To-Do List to get you through this year. Twenty-two items, for 2022.

To-Do List, Jan. 1, 2022 to Dec. 31, 2022:

  1. Get more sleep, or at least better sleep
  2. Finish all the Christmas Hallmark Movies
  3. Finish watching iZombie, PLEASE
  4. Participate at least once in each of your seminars
  5. Embrace all the trash music you listen to
  6. Finally finish writing one of the 10 thousand books you started
  7. Commit to therapy
  8. Continue stealing hugs from your son (only when he wants them)
  9. Figure out what to do with the mop you call hair
  10. Keep singing even though your voice is tragic
  11. Try and keep up with all the 90 Day Fiancé spin-offs
  12. Practice tongue pops. They seem to come in handy for you
  13. Keep buying pencils, pens and paper
  14. Make sure your husband knows you will annoy him for life
  15. Read at least one-third of the Bible
  16. Work on spatial awareness
  17. Stop falling down and hurting your knees
  18. Work on your ability to write those steamy love scenes
  19. Start saying “no” more
  20. Keep up the multi-level marketing hate
  21. Work on your application to be a co-host on The View
  22. Take care of yourself, and stop feeling selfish when you put yourself first

That’s all I have for now, but I am sure you will re-write this list at least 10 times before agreeing. Twenty-twenty-two is just another year, but if you fill it with a balance of fun and seriousness, it will be your greatest success yet.



Rhea Giuliana, master’s in theology.


Hi, it’s you. Well, a past version of you, here to give you some advice.

First of all, I want to tell you how proud I am of you. Life has thrown you a lot of curveballs and, let’s be real, it hasn’t been as easy as you sometimes pretend it is.

I want to remind you that you are exactly where you need to be in life right now and to trust yourself.

I know that there are plenty of unfairnesses in life and that sometimes just getting out of bed feels impossible, but it is your strength that separates you from the crowd. Strength, however, does not mean that you can’t fall apart sometimes; it’s about how you rebuild yourself and continue to set goals.

I want you remember that the ultimate goal is to be happy and that it’s okay to let go of the things that are standing in the way of that. It’s also okay if something or someone that used to bring you happiness no longer does. You are a bright light in a sea of darkness, and you deserve to be happy.

Challenge yourself everyday but don’t take yourself too seriously. Keep singing Taylor Swift in your hot pink PJs, keep washing your hands, and keep using condoms.

Stop comparing yourself to others and stop second-guessing yourself. As you know, life is short, so keep telling your loved ones how much they mean to you and be a shoulder they can lean on.

Not to spoil the ending but everything is going to work out for the best. You have the power to do anything you set your mind to. I believe in you and love you so much.


Your younger self

Delaney Kelly, third-year journalism student.


Dear Adela,

The year 2022 has just started and you’re already back in online school: not your cup of tea, but you’re about to graduate! Well, first you need to write your final essay by the end of the semester and then you’ll graduate. You should be proud of yourself, though! You started graduate school during a global pandemic and you have done everything you could to get to this final semester, so don’t screw it up.

But, don’t feel like you have to be happy and grateful all the time. Again, we’re still in a global pandemic.

Being sad is okay and wanting to do nothing is okay as well.

You need to give yourself space to breathe and to cry. Don’t hold your emotions in anymore. It really is okay (I swear) to let them out and talk to people about how you feel. You are valid!

I am scared of what happens after I graduate. How long until I get a job? Can I even get a job? Will I make enough money to just live? The job market is weird. I look at entry-level jobs and they want four years of experience, but only for a 40K salary? It’s kind of depressing to look around at jobs you think you’d like but feel you’re not qualified for. It’s not like wages are going up. The price of rent, among other things, makes me question whether or not I can even sustain myself.

On a different note, you got engaged! Congrats to us! Time to start thinking about planning a wedding or, really, whatever you want to do. I never had plans to have a big wedding but something small would be nice — if only wedding prices were small too. Pick a budget and have an idea of whatever you want to do, because this is your wedding.

Do tons of research, write pros and cons of what you want your wedding to look like: dress, wedding party, venue, and whatever else you need to do to prepare for a wedding. Don’t make this too stressful on yourself. Try to make the process fun, because your wedding should be fun and will be something to look forward to.

There are both scary and really cool things happening this year. Understand that maybe not everything will go as planned. But, don’t forget to  look forward to the wonderful life-changing plans ahead of you. You’re going to be okay, kid.



Adela Languein, masters in digital innovation in journalism.


Dear self,

You’ve made it to a whole new year. Congratulations!

You are so lucky to be here. To be loved. To be happy. To be healthy.

There’s something so special about the beginning of a new year: it’s like an untouched journal, filled with blank pages waiting for your story to be written.

Hopefully the story you choose to write in 2022 is filled with happiness, love, and laughter. Yes, it’s the story you “choose” to write — because although life is bound to throw you curveballs and things you can’t control, you can control how you respond to every situation and how you wish to live your life.

So while you’re writing this story, would you mind throwing in a chapter or two where you travel the world and celebrate milestones alongside your friends and family without fear? That’d be great. Thanks!

The last few years have surprised you in unimaginable ways. And no, I’m not only speaking of the “C” word — which I refuse to mention in this letter, by the way.

These years surprised you because what you thought you were missing in life, you had with you all along.

You longed for meaningful friendships — which were right in front of your face all along.

You longed for someone who could love you unconditionally — that person was there all along.

You longed to be part of something special and make a real difference in people’s lives — you were doing so all along.

Look around. You have everything you need and more.

So in 2022, can you just chill? No, seriously. Just relax. Breathe. Don’t take life so seriously.

You’re literally a small speck of dust in this vast universe.

And no matter what happens, “No fim, tudo dá certo. Se não deu, ainda não chegou ao fim.”

Okay, don’t fool yourself now. You may be half Portuguese, but you can’t read that.

So, here’s an English translation to what Fernando Sabino once said: “In the end, everything will be okay. If it’s not okay, it’s not yet the end.”

Remember that there’s always a light amid the darkness, and there’s always a reason to smile every day.

But, cry too. Sometimes all you need is a good cry.

So, here’s to 2022:

The year you’ll go back to your tradition of Sunday night dinners with your Italian family; the year you’ll visit your friends casually; and the year you’ll see people smiling naturally.

Now go book yourself a spa day. Or don’t. Do whatever makes you happy.

You deserve it.

Melissa Migueis, journalism and communications studies.



Graphic by Madeline Schmidt

Student Life

The end of a decade

There are 21 days until 2020. A brand new year, plenty of opportunities, adventures and achievements to experience.

But it feels grander, more important somehow. There are 21 days until a brand new decade and, while time is a construct, the idea of going into a whole new decade is kind of stressing me out—okay, very much stressing me out. I’ve had multiple existential crises, more than usual, when thinking about the future.

At the start of this decade, in 2010, I was in my last year of elementary school. When you’re 12 and someone asks you where you think you’re going to be in five, 10 years, it’s often along the lines of go to school, get a job. Well after those five years, I finished high school. Then I went to CEGEP. And now I’m in my last year of university.

“Where do you see yourself in 10 years?”

I have no idea. And that thought scares me. Up until this moment in my life, everything has somehow fallen into place according to a relatively “normal” timeline. From here on out, I have no idea what to do, where I’m going to end up, what I’m going to be doing with myself and my life. And it’s absolutely freaking me out.

I have to remind myself to look at the past year, at what I’ve accomplished: I got my first job in journalism, got an internship over the summer for a job which I got to keep, I started my column in this paper, I got through another year of university without any major breakdowns, got good grades while balancing multiple jobs, and so much more. Looking back over the last decade? I’ve accomplished so much and most of it was just growing up: I survived multiple levels of schooling, got my license, bought a car, fell in love, had my heart broken, I’ve lost loved ones, made and lost some amazing friends, and began the journey to finding and establishing myself.

Thinking back to everything I’ve done over the years, it makes looking forward a little less scary. Did I know what I was doing with myself at 12, 15, 18, 20? Absolutely not. But I still managed to get things done, and I’m proud of everything I’ve accomplished because it’s all made me who I am today.

Now, I don’t know what I’m going to do after I graduate. I don’t know what job I’m going to get, or when I’m going to fall in love, get married, become a parent, get my own place, buy a new car. I don’t know if I’m going to lose friends, make friends, gain a larger family or lose loved ones. I don’t know if I’m still going to be living in Montreal, in Canada, in North America, or if I’m going to be living at all.

While that might sound morbid, it’s just the reality of life; you truly can never know when your last day living is. While it may not be so simple to say that you should make every day the best day ever in case you don’t see tomorrow, it’s best to just live everyday. Work hard for what you want short term in case you don’t make it to be 27, but also work for what you want in the case you make it to 93. Be kind to people and to yourself. Don’t be afraid of telling and showing people how you feel because you never know when the last time you’ll be able to do that is.

I don’t know anything about the upcoming year and the rest of the decade and there’s no point in stressing about it because you just can’t know. No matter how much you plan, life has a funny way of throwing you curveballs that can completely change your life, for better or for worse.

So, If you’re stressed about the year 2020, or the new decade ahead of us, look back to the last 11 months and 10 days and see what you’ve accomplished; look back at the last 10 years of your life and see how much you’ve grown. You’ve accomplished more than you realize and more than you give yourself credit for. Life is hard, and even if you think you’ve accomplished nothing, just being alive and being able to read this says a lot about you and what you’ve done with your life.

May 2020 and the next decade bring you more achievements, adventure, moments of self-realization, happiness, pain, love and loss. Most importantly, I hope it brings you the satisfaction of getting through one more year, one after another. And if no one’s told you recently, I’m proud of you, you’re doing amazing, and you got this.

Graphic by @sundaeghost


No one sat at the SAT’s Party du Jour de L’an

The Societé des Arts Technologiques’ New Year’s Eve party erupted with digital confetti and “unst unst”

SAT welcomed the new year by opening the whole building to party goers, who shuffled up and down the stairs in glittering gowns and tight tuxedos to taste the two party rooms. The top floor featured a dance floor under a dome-shaped screen, and downstairs, the smaller Espace SAT room with a candle-lit, speakeasy vibe where the music was loud enough for no one to actually speak easily. On the subject of music, party goers might conclude that there is not much to say about the music at all.

NYE party at the SAT. Photo by Sébastien Roy

Two words that best describe the night’s music would be “unst unst”. DJ’s, Harvard Bass, Bordello, Thomas Von Party, Iron Galaxy took turns DJ-ing the Stratosphere and taking selfies on the little stage. The DJ’s certainly delivered: the musical effect was reminiscent of Paris night clubs—the bar also served France’s popular 1664 beer. The highly popular electronic music, where musical layers are packed on, built-up, and inevitably dropped, pleased the crowd of people with eyes glazed over. Many pointed up to the ‘90s screensaver visuals of the Stratosphere, which shifted digital shapes, loosely matching the DJ’s music. When midnight hit, a countdown appeared on the dome screen, and digital confetti erupted. Couples kissed—some for too long—others texted their loved ones, and a few single souls suddenly found the dome visuals extra interesting as the minute of kissing passed. The dome itself had a dizzying effect if stared at too long. A cure for this was the igloo-looking hut set-up outside and frequented by shivering smokers.

Some hobbled down the stairs in heels to the Espace SAT, Prison Garde, Seb DIamond, Hatchmatik, Kyle Kalma, Jason Voltaire (VJ) manned the stage—the music and bass slightly louder than upstairs. Here, dancers were more loose and more apt to mingle. A large screen displayed a stagnant “2015” for some time (because a reminder of the new year was essential). One audible lyric could be deciphered from on the the DJ’s sets. It went “my body doesn’t lie,” or something to that effect. True to form, nobody’s body seemed to fib as elbows were flailed jauntily to the beat.

In all, the night was extremely “unst unst” which was appropriate because, now, in 2015, people seem to really dig “unst unst” kind of music.

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