Photo by Kelsa Katzfey ’21

With January over, New Year’s resolutions can often feel like a dream. 

Picking up resolutions is always an optimistic self-promise for change, but when classes, work, and daily difficulties resume, these promises can seem unrealistic, which leads to them being dropped.

If you have dropped your resolutions, you’re not the only one. Before the end of the year, 80% of people break their resolutions. 

It’s completely normal; breaking old routines to create new ones demands work every day. 

Adding a weekly gym regimen might not seem like a challenge on paper, but actually trying to fit it into your schedule requires work. 

So what do you do if you do drop your resolutions? 

Keep going.

Making resolutions is easy, but it’s also easy to make them too lofty to be realistic. 

Instead of shooting for going to the gym five days a week for an hour, shoot for a half hour, or shoot for three days a week. 

As with any project, the end goal is not the first step. No one plans for obstacles, but they are inevitable. 

Design your resolution to let you be adaptable to any sudden wrenches thrown your way.



Be patient with yourself.

If you want to teach yourself to become a better artist, it can be crushing to see how little progress you may make in a month, especially when looking at other artists’ work. 

In the words of Teddy Roosevelt, “Comparison is the thief of joy.” Getting better at anything is a process, and everyone’s process is different. 

Comparing your journey to another’s will more than likely set you up for disappointment. Instead, focus your energy on your progress and your journey. 



Think about the reason you made it.

Maybe it was to be healthier, start a new hobby, or get out of your comfort zone. 

Many people make resolutions to better themselves in one way or another. If this is why you chose your resolution, keep with it

If your resolution has less-than-healthy motivations, maybe it’s not worth it to fulfill the goal. If you tell yourself you want to exercise more to get in better shape, that’s healthy and worth following. 

However, if you think you need to exercise more as a compulsion or a necessary prerequisite for health, your workouts may develop into a self-destructive habit.

Being honest with yourself about what you need and want for your own development is crucial to making resolutions that are worth sticking with. 

If you find yourself doing it for anyone else, it’s far harder to stay motivated.



Just keep going.

Yep, I’m gonna say it again—you have to keep trying. Self-improvement requires continuous effort; if it didn’t, there probably would be no tradition of resolutions. 

If you realize 12 months isn’t enough time to reach your goal, reshape your plan. Keep your goal in sight.

Break parts of your plan into smaller portions. If your goal is to write a novel, you may find writing a chapter a week is okay for a while, but maybe you develop new ideas part way in. 

Your next decision shouldn’t be to stress about how to still write this novel before the end of December; it should be how to alter your goal. 

If you can, physically write down your plan as a to-do list. The act of crossing off items will provide a sense of accomplishment and boost motivation. 

Changing your plan? Remake the list, but keep what you’ve already done and cross it off. 



As you continue to fight through the snow onto spring, carry your efforts and intentions with you. 

If you haven’t reached your initial goal by the end of the year, continue to find a plan that works for you. 

The only failure is giving up completely—any progress, no matter how slow, is still improvement.


– Mad Hall