New Year’s Resolutions

Impact of the annual resolutions on MHS students

It can be difficult to create and achieve resolutions.

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It can be difficult to create and achieve resolutions.

Florence Haines, Features Page Director

As we reach the end of 2022 and begin to prepare for the upcoming year, creating New Year’s resolutions will cross many peoples’ minds. These resolutions are typically created with the belief that they will help people become healthier or more successful in one form or another. However, the amount of effort put into following through with New Year’s resolutions certainly varies from person to person. According to Forbes, a 2021 study discovered that 80% of people who make resolutions have given up on them by February, a mere month after they were created. 

The resolutions we create evolve over the years, and our perceptions of the New Year’s resolutions concept grow and change with this. AP English Literature and Composition and English 10 teacher Maria Fairbairn has made various resolutions over the years; including going to bed at a more reasonable hour and getting more exercise, however, Fairbairn admits that she was successful at neither of those. Despite this, Fairbairn successfully followed through with her past resolution to read more books throughout the year. When asked if she would be making resolutions for 2023, Fairbairn made it clear that she “will not be making resolutions”. She explains her belief that limiting resolutions to being made just once a year is “limiting”, and that “we should always be looking inward and reflecting about how we want to improve. On a monthly, weekly, or even daily basis”. Focusing increasingly on the “verb and noun, resolve, than… in the noun, resolution”, Fairbairn strongly believes that we “should regularly ask ourselves, what do I want to resolve”, along with “how will I heighten my resolve in order to accomplish that goal?”. Fairbairn provides an interesting perspective that shines light onto the extinction of an annual tradition, and in replace of the tradition, a mindset that allows everyone to grow and continue to improve as people throughout the span of an entire year.

After gaining a teacher’s perspective, Hannah Mehler (‘25) helps us to gain a high schooler’s perspective on New Year’s resolutions. Similar to Fairbairn, Mehler has been both successful and unsuccessful, with her largest achievement being becoming vegetarian; a result of a resolution that she made five years ago. Despite her past decisions, Mehler also disapproves of the annual resolutions complex, particularly when it relates to students. “Students are already under so much stress to achieve perfection, whether it be in the form of grades or just other general aspects of being a teenager. New Year’s resolutions just add another layer of stress… while raising our expectations and our desire to achieve perfection”. As we all reflect back on our past experiences with resolutions, many of us may find that we agree with both Fairbairn’s and Mehler’s perspectives. Have you ever felt weighed down by the responsibility of achieving a large, oftentimes unreasonable resolution? The pressure that is put onto people when there is a tradition to only resolve once every 365 days is certainly large, but if we alter our perspective to the idea of resolving regularly, that pressure is lifted. We can work to be the best version of ourselves on our own timeline, and there is no longer such a grand feeling of failure when we don’t persist with a singular resolution.

If you do end up deciding to follow through with creating New Year’s resolutions, it is important to not let the goals you set become a major stressor in your life. With resolutions having the power to greatly impact your life, be gentle to yourself with the strides you take to accomplish them. If you fall a couple of times throughout the journey that accompanies resolution-making, make sure to not give up, because the key to making a successful change is, and will always be persistence.