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It always seems to be around this time – two or so weeks into the new year – that the first real challenges to our New Year’s Resolutions seem to rear their heads. It is easy enough to go to the gym every day, or to eat healthier or to spend less time on your phone during the first week, while the resolution holds fast in your soul. But slowly, invariably, the reluctance always seems to begin again, and staying in a nice warm bed seems infinitely more preferable than getting up early for a morning run.

The middle-of-January slump is familiar for anyone who’s ever tried to take up a new hobby with the start of any new year, and as someone who has tried – and failed – multiple times, I finally feel like I can look back on past resolutions with an easier conscience.

It is a natural instinct for human beings to regard failure – even in something as small as a resolution to eat more vegetables – with the quiet sort of shame that eats away at you until you give up. We seem to be perfectionists by nature and are all too quick to give something up as soon as we discover that it might not be as easy as we might have fantasized. Being disappointed in yourself is an understandable thing to do, but you have to remember not to linger in your disappointment; constantly lingering in disappointment does little but keep you from returning to your resolution.  

All too often, life gets in the way of our intentions, and you might miss a day of the gym because of some unforeseen circumstance. The important thing is to not beat oneself up about missing a single day – there's always tomorrow and the next day and the next. If you miss a day, or a week, or even a month, the best thing is not to be disappointed in yourself, but to just take a breath and resolve to yourself that when you are in the mood again, you can return.

Progress comes in baby steps, and the best resolution to make to yourself is not: “I’m going to do this every day for a month,” but rather: “I’m going to do this tomorrow.”


Jordan Rodriguez

UC Irvine '18

UCI '18 PhD hopeful
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