New year’s resolutions prove easy to make, more difficult to keep

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By Beverly Jenkins
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For junior Jennifer Hosek, the end of the 2008 year was also an end to another failed attempt toward keeping a New Year’s resolution. Hosek, who has been making resolutions annually for quite some time, always looks forward to accomplishing her goals in January. However, when the following December comes around, she realizes that she hasn’t achieved what she said she would.

“I always write down a few simple resolutions every year,” Hosek said, listing a few very common examples such as keeping her room clean, getting better grades, and being more active. “But I usually give up after the first month or two.”

Hosek, who is like many other students here, begins the new year with high hopes and expectations, but for one reason or another, isn’t able to follow through with her goals. Despite good intentions and well meanings, the resolutions are soon abandoned and forgotten. Not unique to CHS students alone, recent research from motivational Web site shows that less than half of Americans who make resolutions are still keeping them in June. 25 percent of those Americans have reported giving up within the first week of the new year. Whether it is for a legitimate reason such as breaking a leg after resolving to run a certain number of miles in a given week, or one out of laziness such as keeping the house clean, it is evident that people have trouble keeping resolutions. A big reason for this might be because many people don’t know how to make a reasonable resolution.

In the minority of people that actually keep their resolutions is freshman Lauren Kahre. Kahre went above and beyond the resolution she made for the 2008 year and has high hopes for this year too. In 2008, Kahre, a cross country runner for CHS’s girl’s team, resolved to do whatever it took to run on varsity for at least one meet. Because Kahre took appropriate steps and never failed to give up even when she suffered setbacks, she not only met her goal but surpassed it by running on varsity at every meet, being the sixth out of the seven top runners for the team.

Kahre said that she put a lot of time and effort into accomplishing her resolution, working toward it daily. “(The team) had practice for an hour and a half daily during the summer. It wasn’t mandatory, but I went every day anyways,” Kahre said. “I used the pressure to be at the front of the pack as sort of a mental motivation. It kept me going even when I was tired.”

Guidance counselor Shelly Rubinstein said that resolutions that people like Kahre make each year are foolproof and reasonable because the goal is clear and attainable. Rubinstein advises that for the majority of people who have difficulty keeping their resolutions take the extra time to map out a plan in order to help them stay on track.

“A good way to start with a resolution is to take the time to go some place private and write down exactly what you want to do,” Rubinstein said. “Write down a couple of goals, a timeline for each, and when one goal is accomplished, start on another one.”

Another helpful trick that Rubinstein said might help is to break the resolution into several smaller goals to achieve throughout the year. “A short term goal is easier to keep because you can see a clear end; that’s not so easy to see all the time when you have a whole year to accomplish a goal. Break the goal into smaller parts.”

Another reason why Kahre was able to go above and beyond her goal while many like Hosek failed to do also has to do with what the goal is itself. “I enjoy running, and I want to see how far I can go in the sport,” Kahre said.

The fact that Kahre views her resolution as something more than just a chore helps her stay motivated throughout the entire year. However, people like Hosek view their resolutions like getting better grades or keeping the house clean as a chore, because they are. The difference between wanting to achieve a goal and actually achieving a goal is the enthusiasm behind it. “If you really want to (achieve your goals), you’ll be able to,” Kahre said. “But if you don’t have your heart in it, you’re not going to want to do it, so you won’t.”