Of New Resolutions and Old Habits

by Anna Brahce
assistant opinions editor

     Most people’s favorite holidays of the year have come and gone. January pushes forward with relentless speed, bringing with it not only the start of a new semester but a challenge that will test the wit and stamina of countless participants across the country. We thought our tests were over when we handed in our last final, tucked our textbooks safely away and breathed a sigh of relief regarding the coming New Year. Little did we know that not a single exam, struggle or obstacle we could face would be as daunting and terrifying a battle as the war we would wage against a set of numerous and relentless foes. They stand intent upon one evil purpose: preventing us from successfully carrying out our New Year’s Resolutions.

 Yes, in the middle of January, the prospects for success seem relatively high. We declare (with no small amount of enthusiasm) our promises to lose weight, exercise more, improve grades, attend more classes, reach out to more friends and family, and countless other genuine and noble aspirations. We lay out ardent plans for exercising, including healthier meal choices in the mix. Our dreams are sketched and drafted amongst planners and sticky notes. Professors can’t recall their students coming to class more prepared; students never found class discussions more invigorating. Librarians never felt more popular. Coaches, for once, are pleased (or at least moderately satisfied) with the intensity of their athletes’ training. Employers applaud the newly exemplary attitude of their employees, and mothers and fathers alike revel in the increased frequency of happy phone calls to home. It looks like it’s going to be a great year, maybe even better than the previous one.

     Then disaster strikes.

With the cunning of a snake and the rapidity of an epidemic, our enemies join forces and move in on us with flawless timing and perfect execution. Undetectable, impenetrable, unimaginable, they grab us and pull us downward one by one until all that is left of us is despair, dread and devastation. From the time we first resolve to improve ourselves, we are doomed to make excuses and resume old habits. The library becomes too far away, and the workouts become too hard. “Have-to’s” become especially boring; Caf’ desserts, surprisingly appetizing. We welcome Netflix and snooze buttons with open arms instead of treating them like the treacherous foes they are. Before we know it, grades plummet, bellies fatten, and laziness is all that remains of our precious New Year’s Resolutions. Perhaps the greatest blow of all is our tendency to dismiss the failure with a casual “well there’s always next year.”

Not this time Millsaps. Let us oppose these tantalizing temptations. Our weapons will be salads, flash cards and alarm clocks. We may be sharpening pencils rather than swords, but this is our war, and the time to win it is now. We shall do the very thing our enemies will never expect: actually carry out our New Year’s Resolutions, with as much intensity in April—and dare I say, October—as we start with in January.