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The danger of the #NewYearNewMe sham

By INDIA KRUG – The coming of a new year involves many things: tuning in to watch the ball drop, visiting with tipsy relatives, and scribbling down your coveted New Year’s resolutions.  I’ll be honest, I write them every year too.  Sometimes they’re realistic: drinking more water, keeping my room clean.   

But there is something to be said about America’s obsession with new starts.  “I’ve literally never cooked in my life.. but in 2018 I’m going to cook dinner five nights a week!”  Ever heard of dipping your toes in the pool to test the water before doing a cannonball?  

One doesn’t have to look too close to see how this “go big or go home” mentality branches out to farther than just resolutions.  From double majors, to weight-loss programs, to the seemingly meaningless yet sickeningly enormous sizes of drinks in restaurants, America is captivated by its own immenseness.

Sophomore Erin Okey says, “People tend to come up with resolutions too extreme to ever be preserved and end up backsliding instead of improving.” The story of the New Year’s resolution is a tragic one.  It begins with a hopeful moment that transcends into a month at the gym, until you realize you have grades to maintain and a part-time job and you’re much too busy to uphold these short-sighted dreams.  

But what spurs these brief periods of excessive motivation?  To discover this, just follow the money.  More specifically, the money that companies are making off of you.  Television advertisements, social media, and magazine covers fill your head with visions of what you think you need to change about yourself.  Lose fifteen pounds!  Travel more!  Quit smoking!  Go on a juice cleanse!

The most ironic part of this tradition is the timing.  If you’re so eager to make these changes, why wait for the new year?  Why not start today? Psychological ties to “clean slates” can end up holding you back.

The truth is, we can all be better and do better.  But instead of writing down egregious demands for ourselves, let’s save the ink and think about what really deserves to take up our time.  Maybe it’s calling relatives, studying more for a hard class, going for walks outside.  It doesn’t have to be drastic to be meaningful.

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[Photo by India Krug

Photo Caption – “Sophomore Alyssa McClaine shows off her New Year’s Resolutions”

Copy of Screenshot 2017-09-19 at 8.00.58 AM

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