New year, new you?

Darren D'Altorio

The party may be over, but are your New Year’s resolutions still going strong?

The party may be over, but are your New Year’s resolutions still going strong?

Joseph Paydock, Kent State ROTC Admissions Officer and U. S. Army Lt. Col., was a smoker for almost 20 years until one August day about four years ago, he quit.

Seven months earlier, just after the new year, he told himself, “This is the year I’m going to quit.” But being a self-proclaimed “non-conformist,” Paydock wouldn’t label this desire a New Year’s resolution. Instead, he called it his chance to “hit the reset button.”

Hair dryers have reset buttons, as do toaster ovens and watches. People do not. Yet, as December days dwindle, people start making their lists of things to do to improve their lives.

“The new year is an opportunity for change,” said Paul Szeltner, junior exploratory major. “It’s a time for people to start anew.”

Sitting in the Student Center, Szeltner thought back to the first New Year’s resolution he ever made. It was the transition from 2008 to 2009. Like Paydock, Szeltner wanted to transition from being a smoker to a non-smoker.

“It was family influence,” Szeltner said. “My parents hated that I smoked. I knew as summer was approaching and I would be home more often, I should just try to quit early in the year.”

He failed.

At first, Szeltner said he was fine. He wasn’t smoking at all. But as the months grew warmer and the parties became more frequent, his old habits came back.

“When I had a beer in my hand, I needed a cigarette,” he said.

Szeltner’s story can be translated to others who resolve to improve their lives at the beginning of each year and find themselves lagging a few weeks into January.

Emily Grein, junior international relations major, said she thinks people failing at their resolutions can be attributed to the attitudes people have in making them in the first place.

“People look for instant results in resolutions,” she said. “They never go for long-term goals, then they get busy and just forget.”

However, Grein’s outlook on New Year’s resolutions is positive. She said resolutions are something you try out; if you fail, it doesn’t make you a failure.

What does it make you, then?

Paydock said it makes people a constant work in progress, attempting to be the best person they can be.

“The resolution doesn’t start January 1,” he said. “But from the turn of the year and forward, we’ve made the commitment to renew ourselves for the entire year.”

Paydock bent his non-conformist ways this year, making a formal, joint resolution with his 13-year-old daughter.

“We are going to read the Bible together this year,” he said. “I want us to establish and solidify our faith.”

So far, neither Paydock nor his daughter has read a single page, “but I haven’t let go of the dream,” he said.

Szeltner is looking for a rebirth of himself this year, too. While home over the break, he found himself looking at high school pictures, noticing how lean his body was then from running track.

“I’ve been putting on beer weight,” he said. “My resolution is to cut back on drinking and to start running again. I can see the room for improvement in myself.”

Contact features reporter Darren D’Altorio at [email protected].