Opinion: New year, new you

Neville Hardman

As the champagne popped high into the air and Patrick Stump graced the television screen on ABC’s Rockin’ Eve in those fantastic black pants, 2014 arrived with a bang.

With the new year comes changes. Devoted promises to fit into that pair of skinny jeans by February and to stop procrastinating on homework flooded social media networks at the beginning of January.

According to statisticbrain.com, 45 percent of Americans usually make New Year’s resolutions, but only 8 percent actually succeed in completing them.

The pitfalls of resolution time start with unrealistic expectations. Many people are quick to participate in the massive, cringeworthy collection of resolution clichés. Some will stop at nothing to announce how they are losing weight, getting organized or sniffing out romance to make it a better year.

Crash diets to fix months of unhealthy choices are suddenly implemented and the Hub is used as a location to hunt for boyfriends. By the time the end of January rolls around, it proves the cinnamon rolls were too tempting, so you had six and then binged on Netflix for the rest of the night. In fact, Details.com reports that one in three people abandon their goals before February.

Well, there’s always next year, right?

Turns out stress and starvation are not the answer to start the year off right. Friends, family and being yourself are. It is mind-blowing how many people use Jan. 1 as an excuse to reinvent a new personality. While it is admirable to want to become a better person, sometimes it’s hard to ignore the irritating whiplash when seeing someone spin a 180 from who they were before.

Accept yourself and your habits instead of vowing to change. Learn to problem-solve without resorting to drastic, anxiety-inducing and utterly overused measures. From experience, I am and will always be a procrastinator. I have made no attempt to vigorously eradicate this quality from my life, even when I’m crying at 2 a.m. because I have yet to complete a mammoth-sized research paper. I’ve acknowledged its presence in my routine and live with it because it’s contained. Improve the things that are out of control, but don’t put yourself through the stress of changing minor habits that are only mildly inconvenient. Classes already put enough pressure on us.

A new year isn’t a great reason to set unattainable goals that will not just make you grouchy and miserable but also cause you to question your self-worth. It’s only an excuse to nitpick at your weight, financial situation, relationship status and so forth. Are we forgetting that there is no specific window to set goals, or is completing objectives in months like April or May socially unacceptable now? In any case, small, gradual changes in your day are the fastest track to joining the 8 percent and avoiding many rounds of head-desking from feeling like a failure.

Contact Neville Hardman at [email protected].