Jan 182007
Authors: Kaitlin Snook

With 2007 now upon us, it is time once again to look back on the year past and make resolutions for the year to come. For most of us, it’s also nearly time to break those resolutions. I don’t believe I’m alone when, every year, I make empty promises to myself of eating healthier and exercising more. I also don’t think I’m alone when I notice the number of people at the gym beginning to dwindle around late January. OK, so maybe I don’t notice it but rather hear about it; I like to “dwindle” with the best of ’em.

So why do we continue to make resolutions when, year after year, we continue to break them? On top of that, we all tend to stick to the same clich/ resolutions each time. According to Medical News Today, some of the most popular goals are ones we’ve all tried. Eat healthier, exercise more, manage stress, and even quit smoking. Any of those sound familiar?

Is there a reason we’re so quick to give up on our New Year’s resolutions? Is it even important that we try to keep them?

It’s funny that we pick one single day in a year to stop doing something that might’ve been a habitual part of our lives for months or even years before. Would a smoker be able to just wake up one morning and decide to stop smoking after years of smoking a pack a day? Probably not. Just the same, starting a successful diet at the drop of a hat, and then actually sticking with it, is nearly impossible.

Experts at Weight Watchers, a company known for its weight-loss success, emphasize the need to take the word “diet” out of your life. When expecting real, long-term results, it’s important to realize that a slow and steady lifestyle change is going to be much more successful than giving up the foods you love only for a period of time. I should know; I’ve given up Pepsi twice already this year.

As college students, is it even harder for us than most to stick to changes like a healthier lifestyle? A day in the life of a college student, although fun, can be crazy and anything but organized. We don’t go to the same job everyday from nine to five and our study schedules vary significantly from week to week.

With frequent all-nighters and barely enough sleep to stay awake in class, a steady gym schedule can hardly be expected and giving up coffee, soda or caffeine of any kind is completely out of the question. And, of course, for all you smokers out there, even if you do really well and almost make it to the end of the semester, it will once again be finals time. What can ease that finals tension better than a nice cigarette?

In my opinion, peoples’ goals, including my own, are far too stringent and slips and backslides can often be viewed as failures, causing most to just give up.

If you want a resolution to stick, start out small. Try smoking a few less cigarettes a day, or eating that one thing you can’t live without only once a week. Our culture is obsessed with the “quick fix” when what we really need to be focusing on are the little changes that ultimately add up to the bigger goal. Take baby steps, people.

Kaitlin Snook is a junior technical journalism major. Her column appears every Friday in the Collegian. Replies and feedback can be sent to letters@collegian.com.

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