Sarah’s Style Corner: Staying resolute

Sarah Rosenberg

What did you hope to accomplish in 2010? It’s a simple question, but the beginning days of January proposed the idea of making life changes, alterations to everyday routines and getting rid of habits and indulgences that may have seemed to be excessive at the time. In order to be a sincere and truthful writer, I must admit that my daily cup(s) of coffee and devotion to dark chocolate is somewhat worrisome. I couldn’t even think about cutting them completely out of my life. But, I have to ask myself: is my fondness for a little caffeine so unhealthy that I need to make a New Year’s resolution to fix it? Moreover, I feel as if setting that resolution would keep me from actually going through with it.

I feel as if New Year’s resolutions are completely overrated. I don’t think I have ever set a resolution that I followed through with. A resolution is simply a tease. The child who is told they can’t have a cookie will eventually sneak right back into the cookie jar, even though their mother said it was wrong. Equally enough, if I tell myself chocolate is off-limits, I will be more tempted to snack on a bag of Hershey’s Kisses. Again, if I’m being truthful, I have probably eaten more chocolate and consumed more coffee since putting myself under pressure. You always want what you can’t have.

The same idea goes for hitting the gym. Shedding weight for the New Year is probably the most popular resolution for people. These days, everyone wants to lose weight and fit the image of having the perfect figure, but I don’t buy into the idea that Jan. 1 is the perfect time to start reaching for that goal. There’s no reason why anyone should have to feel like they need to lose weight because it’s endorsed by a holiday. However, that’s what seems to happen.

When it comes to resolutions, we all seem to think that it’s all or nothing. We have to go to the gym once a day, pasta and bread is no longer part of our diet, and eating after 7 p.m. is almost unheard of. If we tell people we have set a resolution but we don’t go through with it, it’s as if we’ve let ourselves and those who were rooting for us down. I’m all for resolutions and setting goals, but do they have to have a label? Do they have to entail a public display of your attempt at success? A resolution doesn’t necessarily have to be private but it should fan out according to your own terms.

I think I would rather not set goals in order to achieve something or change something in my lifestyle. Being tied down by a deadline and the obsession of staying true to a goal can be tiring; it may even become unhealthier than the lifestyle you were previously living.

My advice, and it may not be the right advice for you, is to follow through with goals when you feel they can be carried out. If you know you can’t make it to the gym because of other obligations there is no point in stressing over the fact that it just didn’t fit in to your day’s schedule. You’ll probably be more likely to go to the gym or resist a piece of chocolate when you know the pressure is off.

Luckily for us, the annual push to renew our lives comes and goes just as fast as the holiday itself. The hype around who you know and what their resolution is dies down quickly along with the pressure of carrying it out. When all is said and done, the only hope is that people don’t necessarily need the resolution to keep their new agendas going. After the winter season and the fervor of resolutions fades away, goals may be more likely to be sustained. Spring is coming and that might inspire you to to reach beyond a New Year’s label.