New Year, Same Resolutions

IMG_0830By: Anna Sobczyk

I am not a fan of New Year’s resolutions for a simple reason: I have made the same resolution for about five years in a row without ever completing it. For years, my goal was to complete an unassisted pull-up from a dead-hang. Every year, I continued with my usual patterns of running, swimming, and outright avoiding any weightlifting.  So, each December when I tried to do a pull-up, I really shouldn’t be surprised when I fail. Nonetheless, I continued to be disappointed. 

Last spring, I injured my foot and I couldn’t run. I still don’t know what’s wrong with my foot exactly, but running results in a pain that feels like ice picks being hammered into the ball of my foot. Needing something to fill the void running had left, I started weightlifting with a couple friends just once a week.

The PSU gym has a machine that assists you in pull-ups, and it was definitely my favorite. I started the term being able to lift 65% of my bodyweight and ended the term maxed out at lifting 93% of my bodyweight. I could do a chin-up from full extension, but the pull-up still eluded me. 

Then, one miraculous day over winter break, I finally did a pull-up and it left me in a state of shock. It didn’t seem real to have finally completed this goal—which started out as a New Year’s resolution—years later on a very un-noteworthy day in December. Now I know I could have accomplished it years earlier had I just devoted one hour a week towards it. For all my future New Year’s resolutions, I’ll just remember the history behind my pull-up and know there’s a process and a way to help me achieve my goals.

The Happiness Project

I think people are missing the point with New Year’s Resolutions. They’re always the same: lose weight, spend less money, stay organized, etc. Though, aren’t those full of negativity in a sense? We’re telling, well, commanding ourselves to be and do certain things in an instant. No wonder we can never stick with them.

Instead, why not give yourself time to discover new habits? Why not find things that will help promote accomplishing those goals? Why not start with happiness? I mean really what you’re saying when you start a resolution is, “by completing this task, I will be happier,” right? It’s about self-improvement. Perhaps by making happiness a priority, those things will come naturally, because you see that they inevitably bring you happiness.

This is why my New Year’s Resolution was to start “The Happiness Project.” It’s a five-year journal in which you write one sentence about each day. Not only does it help you to remember the little things in life, but it’s also extremely rewarding to see them add up. For instance, you may think you did absolutely nothing today, but you actually cooked a new meal, or rode your bike to the grocery store, or helped a friend with homework.

So my resolution is to discover a little more happiness in the little things in life.

-Kd.