As we unpack our suitcases and realize how that 8 a.m. will be more of a struggle than realized, the last thing to be concerned with is New Years’ resolutions. But alas, they can be opportunities to re-evaluate yourself. If you make resolutions religiously, then question the success rate you have achieved over the past few years.
A word of warning to those who make New Years resolutions: Don’t be unrealistic. Whether you vow to lose the 20 pounds of Christmas cookies or promise to always be on time to your 8 a.m., New Years’ resolutions are about self reflection and evaluation. Don’t try to go to the gym every day when you are taking 18 units. Realism is something that gets lost in our social media world of fantasy.
As for myself, I like to stay general with my resolutions and usually stick to one. This year: take better care of myself. The fabulous part is that can mean anything I want it to. It could mean more diligence with washing my face twice a day or committing to a healthy breakfast other than coffee. You will change over the course of 2014 and success stems from flexibility.
As college students, our class, social and life schedules require our full attention. Fitting in a new habit can add to the stress, but it doesn’t have to. Take baby steps and clarify your desired resolution. Don’t complicate things with details and exceptions. Write it down on a piece of paper and put in a place in your house that you will see every day. Professors are correct when they say you will remember it more clearly if you write it down.
Be careful not to turn self-evaluation into self-criticism. It is a reflection of yourself, not what others expect of you. Success is defined by each individual. Someone might define success as getting to class on time, while another may consider getting a B on an exam as success. Don’t beat yourself up. Try a positive outlook and see how you can make realistic goals toward improving your life.
Stick to your daily routine, but incorporate your new resolution. Don’t be afraid to re-evaluate your resolution if sticking to it becomes too challenging. It should not be a stressful endeavor but a chance to make life better.
If your resolutions involve outside factors such as walking on the track twice a week or making more time for friends, be flexible. Remember you will not be the same person in December as you are now. If you want to spend more time with friends, make sure you know everyone’s schedule so that cancellations will be less likely to occur. The track may be wet or the eerie fog of Malibu may make you feel like a victim in a horror movie. So plan for alternatives, such as walking to class — even from Drescher — or find an inspiring YouTube video for an indoor workout.
No matter what your resolution is or even if you don’t follow this rather antique tradition, just remember self-evaluation is not self-criticism. Be realistic with yourself. Flexibility will lead to less stress and better coping abilities in any situation. And always remember — you stay classy, Pepperdine.
Follow Jacklyn Maza on Twitter: @jbizzmazzz
As published in the Jan. 16 issue of the Pepperdine Graphic.