By Emma Gammans, January 10 2017 —
Welcome to January, when gyms are packed to maximum capacity and candy aisles at the grocery store are over-stocked. January is the month that inspires rejuvenation and resolutions. Instead of stocking up on chocolate bars from Stör, maybe you’ll find yourself reaching for an apple or a Greek yogurt. Tired of sitting at the library hunched over your computer? Maybe you’ll hit up the bouldering wall and conquer a new route. The possibilities are endless, but why is it this optimism only peaks in January?
Most people are acquainted with the idea of a “New Year’s resolution.” To some, January means new beginnings. To others, the act of writing goals seems like a waste of time. After all, most resolutions fail or are simply forgotten.
The desire to improve one’s life is often synonymous with the transition to a new year, yet Forbes claims that only eight per cent of people actually achieve their New Year’s resolutions. Despite this underwhelming statistic, students continue to walk into January with a desire for change. Final marks are back and you only earned B’s? Perhaps second semester you’ll take the bull by the horns and shoot for all A’s!
But ultimately, relying on New Year’s resolutions to transform your life is an incubator for failure. Resolutions to stop Facebooking when you should be writing that paper or deciding to stop “accidently” ending up in the Tim Horton’s line in MacHall should not only fall on Jan. 1. Change should be constant, but the fanaticism around New Year’s resolutions can lead people to forget that negative tendencies can be tackled at any point in time.
When January rolls around and students are suddenly inspired to change, the concept also feeds into the idea of “instant gratification.” The presumption that change will manifest itself in one’s life because of a goal set in January is false. In fact, this presumption makes January out to be some sort of fairy godmother with magical powers that will transform every Cinderella into the belle of the ball and every struggling student into the next Einstein.
Change requires dedication. It is the result of hard work and is often accompanied by moments of frustration, joy and defeat.
January does not provide every student with a “motivational starter pack.” Qualities such as self-motivation are earned after rigorous work. If your first mark back this semester is a C, don’t worry. It’s not too late to ace those February midterms.
Life is unpredictable and in the face of rising challenges we must be willing to adapt our expectations. Perhaps you’ll sprain your ankle and miss a week at the bouldering wall or maybe one morning you’ll really, really need that coffee. Whatever they are, our goals must be adaptable. And in order for them to adaptable, we need to be in constant recognition of them. Stop relying on Jan. 1 to chase the life you’ve always wanted. If you want something, go for it. Even if it’s April.