Students share qualms and credences in New Year’s resolutions

Whether in the unusually crowded Thompson Memorial Library—each table occupied by earnest academics—or the bustling athletics center filled with sweating gym rats, it seems that each student on campus is taking strides toward a “new and improved” self. Will these self-made promises endure? After all, only about 19 percent of New Year’s Resolutions are kept past mid-January, with roughly 80 percent of resolutions being abandoned altogether, per Psychology Today. Perhaps the fault lies with a commitment-phobic generation, too timid to take bigger steps on the road to a goal. Or, alternatively, the whole concept of a New Year’s Resolution is itself inherently flawed—the pressure of making a drastic life change once a year is too heavy, leading to failure. Either way, it seems that most students today—particularly first-years with a semester’s worth of new experience— are getting on board with holding themselves accountable in the new year, at least at first.

Many Vassar students have committed to new academic attitudes. Jordan Chafe ’26 is taking new steps in the realm of time management. Chafe acknowledges that time management was a bit of a struggle in the fall semester, but wasn’t a significant concern in his life. This semester, though, Chafe is taking more challenging courses, and he wants to plan ahead to prevent slipping into a routine of disorganization. “New challenges mean new diligence,” Chafe asserted. To stick to his plans, Chafe has created a routine to follow. “I want to wake up earlier and get breakfast before class every morning. I think small changes like that alter the entire trajectory of my day,” he says. Ultimately, Chafe thinks that it is important to create personal goals in order to understand what you are capable of achieving under more challenging circumstances.

Image courtesy of Jordan Chafe ’26.

Ethan Benadon ’26 shares a similar sentiment. “I think that having self assurance and confidence in your resolutions makes all the difference,” noted Benadon. Although Benadon thinks that most New Year’s resolutions are bound to fail, he believes there is a certain amount of merit in making and keeping promises with oneself—New Year’s resolutions or otherwise. This spring, Benadon wants to take his time at the gym more seriously. In the new year, he is making a commitmen​t to finding workouts that will help him make more consistent progress. “For me, working out is about more than just physical appearance. A better self image equates to better mental health, so there are many benefits all around,” Benadon explained.

For other students, such as Rose Golick ’26, New Year’s resolutions can be about listening to others just as much as listening to oneself. “I want to listen to my friends’ advice more. They are always logical and unbiased. After all, the best advice comes from those who know you best,” Golick mused. In turn, Golick is also going to focus on being a better listener for her friends as well. “If I’m asking others to keep me accountable for my actions, then the least I can do is look out for them as well,” Golick reasoned. Overall, Golick thinks that being more attuned to her friends’ suggestions will help her attain a less frazzled life. “Although, I have to say the whole premise of starting new lifestyles at the start of a new year is a bit silly. Why not start whenever,” Golick quipped.

Image courtesy of Grace Montas ’26.

Grace Montas ’26 agreed: “I think having goals is a good idea but I don’t think I need a new year to begin new goals. For my personal goals, I’ve been working on being more decisive for a while.” Montas added that being indecisive can be a challenge because she doesn’t want to make the wrong choice for herself or displease others with her choices. “[My indecisiveness] makes small decisions like trying to figure out what to eat with friends a hassle. But, it can also be an issue with larger life decisions, too,” she explained. Montas’ personal strategy for sticking to her goals is not letting her resolution consume her life. “Overall I want to be more assertive and hold myself accountable with that, but progress isn’t linear,” Montas reasoned.

Despite the pervasiveness of New Year’s and semester resolutions, it seems most students have a general distaste for making drastic life changes only when a new year or a new semester starts. Although taking steps to improve one’s quality of life is important, changes are not bound to happen when the clock strikes twelve on New Year’s Eve. Perhaps you’ve already failed your New Year’s resolution. If so, all hope is not lost. Be kind to yourself and take small steps towards your goals; progress will follow.

 

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