One of the most momentous occasions over winter break is undoubtedly the new year, a holiday when our younger selves struggled to stay up till midnight that now consists of getting drunk with our friends. However, for a holiday celebrated by all, there’s nothing really special about it. For the most part, we watch TV, see dumb tweets about how bad the last year was and party.

New Year’s Eve is also when we take time to reflect on ourselves. We write lists of resolutions we try to hold ourselves to, but often we don’t follow through. I once worked in my local rec center gym, and there was an obvious influx of new members around New Year’s. However, my boss always told me how everything will be back to normal by February. Sure enough, it was.

We challenge ourselves to work out, eat better, get more sleep, study more, practice patience and even have better relationships with others. Yet, if we can’t hold ourselves to it, why should we even bother?

We upgrade everything. Not just the phones we carry around every day, but just about everything we know. We are always trying to get whatever is bigger and better, and that also applies to our lives. In the society of constantly upgrading, we must upgrade too. This is the foundation of New Year’s – a time where we celebrate the beginning of a better year with better us.

Now, if we can upgrade almost anything instantly, why is it so difficult to upgrade our own lives? The key lies in the fact that most of the time, the things we try to improve are the worst aspects of our lives. It’s never easy to make a complete 180 degree turnaround, and when it goes against every bit of routine and habit it is even harder. As a result, we are left in the dust and after valiant effort, we end up right back on square one.

Not all is lost, for in the spirit on the new year and in the new semester, it’s possible to upgrade our lives. Instead of getting caught up in what we are not, we should focus on what we are. You don’t just go from crawling to running, and trying to attempt that same transformation just doesn’t work. We need to set realistic resolutions. Whether you’re focusing on your grades, your health or your relationships, the starting goal shouldn’t be a leap to the finish.

While time and patience seem to be the two things we don’t have enough of in society today, when used correctly they are the deciding factor on whether we upgrade or burn out. Setting small steps and achievable goals may not sound like a challenge, but sticking to it consistently often proves to be the most difficult part of our goals.

When we want something, it’s usually easy to get. All we have to do is drive to a store, ask a friend or go online. However, when we are the target, it makes things a whole lot harder. Embracing the pain of work and struggle is what ultimately sets us up for success, and we shouldn’t be afraid to dive in head-on. Whether it’s New Year’s resolutions or beginning-of-the-semester goals, the challenge to upgrade ourselves can be a daunting task, but if done right, reaps the greatest reward.

stemmlmf@miamioh.edu

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