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Cat in the Stax: Keeping Resolutions 101

As Falvey’s Cat in the Stax, Rebecca writes articles covering a broad range of topics, from academics to hobbies to random events. All the while highlighting how Falvey Library can enhance your Villanova experience!

Happy 2024 and welcome back to campus, Wildcats! Hopefully, the break was a relaxing and restful time for you, and you came back ready to tackle a new semester and a new year.

Image of Janus by Andrey Kokorin

Fun Fact: January is named after Janus, the ancient Roman god of gates and doors symbolizing endings, beginnings, and transitions. He’s depicted with two heads: one head looking at the past and the other at the future.

While the month of January is a time of new beginnings and starting anew, with it comes an expectancy to reform yourself in some way (or at least set a goal to do so). The whole “New year, new me” mantra pressures people to change or improve themselves in some way. Not that self-improvement is a bad thing! But when people set new goals each year and then fall short, they get discouraged and quit altogether. With broad, generic goals and no plan on how to accomplish them, people tend to abandon their New Year’s Resolutions after a few weeks or so.

I’m personally of the belief that every day is a new chance to grow. Don’t restrict your personal growth to a yearly tradition, make it a daily focus. Didn’t go to the gym all week? Try again next week. Felt a little lazy and watched movies all day? Write it off as a personal day. Tomorrow is a new day, a new chance to follow through on your goals.

Sticking to New Year’s Resolutions is hard, especially when you’re a busy college student. The key is to be specific, have a detailed course of action, and hold yourself accountable. If you’re serious about your resolutions this year, take a look at this quick crash course with some tips on how you can achieve your goals.

Photo by Tim Mossholder from Unsplash.com

Be Specific in Your Goals

A popular New Year’s Resolution is “to workout more” or “to lose weight,” which I will use as an example throughout this article. Not necessarily bad goals to have, but their broad nature makes attaining them much harder. How many times do you want to hit the gym each week? Are you looking to increase the length of your workouts? How much weight do you want to lose? It’s one thing to say “I want to workout more” and quite another to say “I want to go to the gym at least three times each week.” Make your goals measurable, give them a number so you’ll know when you’ve achieved them.

Have an Attack Plan

Now that you have a specific goal in mind, you need to lay out a course of action for how you are going to achieve it. Let’s go back to the gym example. Your goal is to workout at least three times a week. What days do you plan on going? What time? Set your workout times at the beginning of the week so you know going in when you want to hit the gym. Let’s say you decide you want to workout every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday at 4 p.m. You should also decide what you want to do at the gym before you get there. Are you going to focus on upper or lower body? Do you want to do some cardio? You should know exactly what you want to do before you enter the gym. This allows you to save time and also makes it easier to accomplish your goals. Having an attack plan can do wonders for your motivation.

Be Accountable

Upholding your resolutions is a lot easier when you hold yourself accountable. The best way to do this is to have someone else supporting you along the way and helping you stay on track. An accountability person doesn’t have to do much, they can act as simple reminders. Maybe all you need is a simple text. Using the workout example, this person could text you twice, once the morning you want to workout and then again in the evening: “Hey, are you going to the gym today?” / “Did you workout today?” Short and to the point, but a good way of keeping you focused and motivated. Now, you could also use reminders on your phone to do this, but I think having an actual person aware of your resolutions and willing to hold you accountable is much more beneficial.

It’s Ok to Start Over

I hate to say it, but you will probably relapse along the way. There will be a day, or a week, when you’re swamped with schoolwork or away or simply feeling lazy. Things happen. Don’t get down on yourself if you fail to stick to a routine or you mess up along the way (Note: your accountability person should not make you feel guilty either if you fall short). Each day is a new chance to try again. Beating yourself up for skipping Wednesday’s workout will discourage you more from going on Friday. If you’ve already ditched your New Year’s Resolution, it’s perfectly ok to start anew. Don’t just use the New Year as a motivator, make every day a new opportunity to improve and achieve your goals.


Rebecca Amrick

Rebecca Amrick is a first year graduate student in the English Department and a Graduate Assistant at Falvey Library.


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Last Modified: January 17, 2024

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