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What's Left: The New Years' resolutions I will only maybe stick to

I like the tradition, but I know, in my bones, I'm not cutting back my caffeine intake.

101321.O.DG.EMMA MCNAMEE
Emma McNamee
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WORTHINGTON — I’m sure it comes as no surprise to anyone that I, like most people, am guilty of breaking my New Year’s resolutions. Don’t get me wrong, I write them down every year. I keep with the consistency; I like the tradition but I know, in my bones, I’m not cutting back my caffeine intake.

I can say with confidence, even though I wrote it down, I’m not going to miraculously become better at responding to text messages. I’m definitely not going to suddenly turn around my reputation in group chats for shooting off barely legible messages when I do respond because I never read them before I press send. I’m a lazy texter. I know it. No amount of New Year’s resolutions, frankly embarrassing spelling mistakes, or ribbing over how I write for a living will change that.

Sure, I’ll put effort into calling my older sister more, and I may give it a real shot to be better about household chores and getting more sleep. I want to do more yoga, and be more consistent with the physical therapy I’m supposed to do but I know, realistically, those results will vary. I wrote down that I want to be better about communicating when I'm having a hard time, and it's a good goal, but that's an area I've never really excelled in, so we'll see how it goes.

I read somewhere that while approximately 60% of young adults have resolutions for the new year, less than 9% of people see those resolutions through. Another study claims that 80% of resolutions will fail by February. Honestly, those numbers bum me out a bit. Here are all these people, every year, who say I am going to make a change. I’m going to do better — only to give it up in the first month.

I’m absolutely counted among this group, and I’m enough of a realist to acknowledge some of my resolutions won’t make it a week. The fact is, I am uncomfortable with change, even when it’s good for me. I drag myself through bad habits and more tedious methods of doing simple things because they’re familiar. I take a longer way home because it’s the bus route I used to ride when I was a kid, and I sit in the same spot at dinner when I visit my childhood home. I’m a creature of habit, through and through.

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I still write the resolutions down though. I know, despite how much I complain and drag my feet, I am capable of change, because I’ve seen it. I’ve had to work for it and received a fair bit of help getting there, but I’m a much healthier person than I was at 15, or 18, or even 20.

Like most people, I’m a work in progress. If I only manage to stick to one resolution this year out of the handful I wrote down, well, that’s one thing I’m doing better than before, and I’ll count that as a win. I’m not going to overnight become the exact person I want to be, but I’ll keep that list of resolutions on hand for this year, and the years to come. It’s something to keep working towards, after all, and maybe someday, in the very distant future, I’ll even answer a text message in a timely manner.

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Opinion by Emma McNamee
Emma McNamee joined The Globe team in October 2021 as a reporter covering Crime & Courts, Politics, and the City beats. Born and raised in Duluth, Minn., McNamee left her hometown to attend school in Chicago at Columbia College. She graduated in 2021 with a degree in Multimedia Journalism, with a concentration in News & Feature Writing and a minor in Creative Writing.
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