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Resolving to Make a Resolution

I resolved to complete a Radar piece on New Year’s Resolutions without procrastinating too long, but like so many other impossible goals, it seems to have crashed and burned. This brief summary of CPS’s take on the resolution-making process will arrive long after January 1st; however, in my opinion, the relevance of a resolution doesn’t fade after the year begins- after all, aren’t we trying to improve ourselves for life, or at least for the year to come? Well, that’s my take on it, but to get a sense of the CPS mindset towards resolutions, I sent out a survey asking: did you make a New Year’s Resolution for 2016? How do you feel about the tradition of making a resolution? Has it worked for you in the past?

Before discussing the results of my survey, I’d like to suggest that everyone at CPS resolve to fill out more of the surveys sent out by well-meaning students like myself. After a week, I saw that I had gotten a whopping twenty-three answers! Bear that in mind as you continue to read.

So who made a resolution this year? Surprisingly, the divide between who did and didn’t was nearly perfectly half-and-half. A slight majority of you made some kind of resolution; aside from a couple discrepancies, there were two main themes I saw.

The first, which involved variants of being nicer or an overall better person, embodies the ideals that CPS so tries to promote in our community: mens conscia recti, academic integrity, and being an overall amazing and welcoming person. Usually, one or more of my resolutions involve something along those lines, and while I can’t say for sure if they’ve worked, I’d certainly like to believe so. Making a genuine, heartfelt attempt to improve oneself can often seem like a goal requiring too much effort, but I don’t actually think that it needs to be. Even little things, such as holding open a door, buying someone Cup O’ Noodles from the vending machines, lending a friend your calculator, or comforting a stressed-out student, can really brighten your own day and others’. I’m not saying you need to dedicate a resolution to random acts of kindness, just that it’s a good idea to try them now and again.

The second trend involves that idea so infamous in resolutions: eating healthier or working out more. How many times have you seen a gym packed with people on January 2nd, then abandoned a few weeks later? New Year’s is the time when many folks look at themselves in the mirror and notice the holiday desserts packed around their midsections (seriously, how many boxes of sugar-loaded treats are we expected to eat in December? You know it’s too many when even I start getting sick of chocolate). According to Google, two-thirds of resolution-makers each year set a fitness-related goal, but 73% of them give up before meeting their goal. That’s not to say that CPS students can’t manage it; after all, we’ve got a stunningly athletic community considering the amount of time we spend sitting at our computers doing homework. If you think CPS stands for “Can’t Play Sports,” I invite you to witness the toned legs of our cross-country runners flying across Oakland. So to those of you who have made a health-and-exercise resolution, I applaud you and wish you the best of luck.

What about those who didn’t make resolutions? Why didn’t they? Well, according to their responses, most of them had tried resolutions in the past but became discouraged when they didn’t succeed. Others felt that it was pointless to try, since their goals would never become realities; one member of the class of 2018 said that for some people, resolutions “fill their hearts with feelings of guilt, regret, and self-inadequacy.” It’s been a cheery, heartwarming experience reading these survey results, as you might imagine. Thank you for your responses, you Twenty-Three of Greatness. Happy New Year, CPS!

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