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.

Living the Dream

By: Sharon Nellist

10258891_10101685513754293_6293913161816303566_oOne of my favorite things about Portland State University is how we are incredibly diverse. I have had the opportunity to meet so many new people from all sorts of backgrounds. I have been exposed to various cultures by those interactions right in my PSU backyard.

January 18 was no different than my past experience with diversity, except in one major way. In honor of Martin Luther King Jr. (MLK), Oregon Campus Compact, hosted over 400 students from PSU and six other local colleges and universities to come together in unity and love. Our goal was to serve and prove that we are not just dreamers, but if we believe then the DREAM will become a reality.

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Coffee’d up and ready to serve!

We served 14 community sites throughout East Portland and Gresham, logged 1,428 hours of service, and made an economic impact of $32,944.

I was privileged to lead a small group of students and AmeriCorps volunteers to serve the Dharma Rain Zen Center on their 14-acre former landfill site in Northeast Portland. In those four short hours it did not matter what school we came from, or what homework we needed to do when we returned; we put ourselves aside and focused on them. We were weeding around bare fruit trees, towing wheelbarrows of mulch downhill, and trying to avoid being poked by blackberry bushes while removing them. And even though we may not see a huge impact from our service at that moment, like the bare trees, we know that the fruits of our labor will be noticed with time and more love.

Life’s most persistent and urgent question is: “What are you doing for others?”

-Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

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At the Dharma Rain Zen Center

 

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.

Less is more in 2012

Did you make a New Year’s resolution this year? Are you counting down the days until you break it? You’re not alone! I too am a victim of this apparent unreachable goal. Just six days into the New Year, I’ve already broken my resolution. This year I chose to give up fatty food and get in shape. Even though I went into it with a positive mentality, it’s really hard to stick to a healthy diet when I work three floors above McDonald’s. When I set resolutions in stone, it makes it that much more difficult to keep. Once I know I can’t have it, I want it more than ever.

Some of the most popular resolutions are to quit drinking/smoking, get fit, get organized, get a better education, get a better job, and manage debt. However, the majority of people don’t actually see them through. I’m no Dr.Phil, but it seems as though we might be biting off a little more than we can chew. Instead of setting things to do or accomplish, why not take things off of our already very busy schedules and have more time for ourselves. My best experiences tend to happen when I don’t plan things and just go with the flow. You’d be surprised at the opportunities that may arise if you just take a moment and sit back.

Did you make a New Year’s resolution? Are we inevitably setting ourselves up for failure?