Yearlong Goals Trump New Year’s Resolutions


Hitting the gym is one of the many New Year’s resolutions that the students of FCLC see as doomed to fail. (Lucy Sutton/The Observer)

Published February 4, 2010

The New Year. It’s filled with expectations. The dropping ball not only signifies the change in date, but also a change in attitude. It forces us to drop any discouragement we carry and embrace a more positive outlook with our self-promised New Year’s Resolutions.

But let’s be honest. Resolutions are the most stressful aspect of the new beginning, aside from finding that New Year’s kiss and perfecting the “one-gulp” from a champagne flute, that is. Finding the motivation and time to commit to a targeted goal for 365 days can become impossible in our hectic lives.

So with another new year underway, are the students of Fordham College at Lincoln Center (FCLC) still making and fighting to keep their resolutions?

Some students have given up on the ambitious tradition altogether.

“There’s nothing magical about the New Year that would make people want to change,” said Brian O’Connell, FCLC ’11. “People make the same ones every year to make themselves feel better and then they go right down the drain.”

“They are inconceivable and never followed through with,” said Luke Villapaz, FCLC ’11. “They’re a nice thought, but most people are full of it.”

“Some people do it for the sake of having a resolution. They’re cliché and overrated. I was going to make amends with everyone but I said scratch that,” said Dominick Berry, FCLC ’11. “But I really need a new boyfriend, I’m really lacking in the love department.”

Other students have opted for more realistic, short-term goals.

“Obviously like every other American, I’d like to go to the gym every day,” said Mimi Sahler, FCLC ’11. “I made a to-do list, but not of things I need to continuously do. They’re aspirational and I won’t feel bad if I can’t fulfill them.”

“If I can make my resolutions a part of my day or week, I’m more likely to stick to them,” said Patrice Kugler, FCLC ’11. “I’ve worked LSAT practice questions into my homework schedule and I keep one of the practice books in my room so I’m forced to look at it and feel guilty in case I start slacking.”

Some students are using the start of the school year as a jumpstart to attacking their New Years goals.

“I have the lame [resolution] of losing weight,“ said Kathryn Burke, FCLC ’10. “I’m not really serious about it, just cutting out the one pound bag of peanut M&M’s I eat a week. My best friend is getting married in August and I need to fit into my bridesmaid dress.”

“[My resolution is] to be on time for things,” said Ryan O’Toole, FCLC ’12. “My friends hate when I’m late, so they encourage me to on time. So far, I have been on time for a few things.”

“I want to see Radiohead in concert. I want to get to know myself and the world better and your classic getting into shape,“ said Brandon Pietras, FCLC ’12. “I’m also easing into running a 5K. But New Year’s isn’t an excuse to do it,” he said. “It’s like a marker or milestone to judge yourself and see how far you got in a year.”

“I want to get my grades up this semester, but the New Year was not a contributing factor in my decision,” said Daniel Acampa, FCLC ’13. “I have never really followed the New Year’s resolution fad. People should focus on changing bad aspects of their life year round, not just at the beginning.”

“There’s no need to resolve anything just because it’s a new calendar year,” said Vanessa Le, FCLC ’11. “My philosophy is to set goals and work towards them all year long.”

It seems that most FCLC students have decided once-a-year resolutions are doomed to fail. And those students who do make resolutions find themselves having a hard time following through.

“Nowadays, I don’t really follow New Year’s resolutions,” said Kristin Nahas, FCLC ’11. “When I was a kid, I definitely started out strong but it ended up being really time-consuming and stressful.”

“I have had previous resolutions and they usually fail because I don’t have a real motivation to do them,” said Stephen Williams, FCLC ’12. “A new year isn’t a proper motivation to successfully accomplish a goal.”

So what is it that makes it so hard to follow through with goals set at the beginning of a new year?

“I think that people can find it difficult to follow through with resolutions because it may involve changing patterns or habits that are familiar and comfortable to them,” said Yael Nitkin Kaner, staff psychologist and outreach coordinator of Counseling and Psychological Services at FCLC. “Another reason that it might be hard for people to keep up resolutions is that people might have strict and unrealistic standards for themselves. It seems like resolutions might be easier to keep if people set realistic goals.”

Perhaps making resolutions at all is unrealistic, as some students struggle with keeping them because they feel it’s something they have to do, not something they choose to do on their own free will.

“I always found it difficult to stick to resolutions because I felt like making them was not a decision I made purely on my own,” said Marc Valentin, FCLC ’11. “I only really made resolutions because it’s just what everyone did for the New Year.”

If 2010 has signified anything within the Fordham community, it certainly has proved to be a moment where students reflect on their personal goals for the future rather than formulating unachievable resolutions.

“I feel as though resolutions are more symbolic than anything else. Whether we keep them or not, they remind us that we can always find something to improve about ourselves,” said Valentin. “And the first step is always setting some kind of goal.”