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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

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.


Curious Cat: New Year’s Resolution Check-In

By Anna Jankowski & Ethan Shea

"Curious Cat Banner"

Happy Thursday, Wildcats! After a brief hiatus, the Curious Cat is back and under new management. For the spring 2023 semester, Ethan Shea is returning with Anna Jankowski, a familiar face at Falvey who works as a Communications and Marketing Assistant in the Library. We’re excited to be curious with you during our final semesters at Villanova!

For this week’s installment of the Curious Cat, we ask a few Falvey patrons how their New Year’s resolutions are going. Did they even make New Year’s resolutions? If so, have they stuck with them? Stay tuned to find out!

"Curious Cat Feb. 2 Pic 2"

“My New Year’s resolution is to read more, and I’ve read four books already!”

— Hannah Starner ’23

"Curious Cat Feb. 2 Pic 3"

“I didn’t make any New Year’s resolutions…”

— Andrew McSheffrey ’23

"Curious Cat Feb. 2 Pic 1"

“No resolutions here.”

— Michelle Diamandi ’23

“I said I’d drink more water, so I bought a new water bottle.”

— Reilly Graney ’23

“I told myself I’d go to the gym more (I have not gone to the gym once).”

— Connor Cuthbert ’23

Anna JankowskiAnna Jankowski ’23 CLAS is a Senior Communication Major from just outside Baltimore who ​​works as a Communication & Marketing Assistant in Falvey.






Headshot of Ethan SheaEthan Shea is a second-year graduate student in the English Department and Graduate Assistant at Falvey Library.








Cat in the Stax: Another Resolutions Blog

By Ethan Shea

"Woman writing New Year"

Setting New Year’s resolutions is a tradition dating all the way back to the Ancient Babylonians. There’s something to be said about a custom that adapts to several millennia of changes, but I remain hesitant to write yet another blog about resolutions. It’s almost cliché at this point; as soon as January begins the gyms overflow and everyone’s lifestyle changes on a dime. But I’ll admit, the beginning of the year is especially apt for making new habits, so why not take advantage of this opportunity that only comes once a year?

Personally, I’ve never been too invested in New Year’s resolutions. I believe every day is a chance for a fresh start, but it feels obligatory to write something about resolutions during this time of year. Turning the subject into something original isn’t an easy task either, so rather than treating this ‘Cat in the Stax’ as a personal blog like I usually would, I’m going to talk about some resolutions I think everyone can add to their list.

Read more!

I know this goal isn’t very specific, and I’m breaking my own rules about setting “SMART” goals, but that’s sort of the point of this list. Besides, this resolution is very simple. It just means read more than you did last year! If you didn’t read any books last year (surely that’s not true), just try to read one book. One is a lot more than none! Contrarily, if you’re a bookworm who read 30 books in 2021, shoot for 32 this year.

Do something new!

I think it’s important to try new things, whether it’s food, travel destinations or board games, so make sure to keep 2022 fresh by getting out of your daily routine every once in a while. Can we really call the New Year “new” if we keep doing the same things every year? The best way to put the “new” into 2022 is to seek new experiences.

Make time for hobbies!

Having something fun to look forward to is essential to staying sane during a busy semester, so make sure you have a hobby or two to pass the time. These hobbies can often take a backseat in your life when work or school becomes overwhelming, but making sure they don’t slip away entirely is important for maintaining mental health. I know if I don’t make time for hobbies at least a couple times per week, everything in my life becomes more difficult, so I’m making sure to leave time for some fun in 2022.

At the risk of sounding like every other blog during this time of year, those are a few very broad resolutions I think everyone can make use of. You can adjust and specify these as you please to fit your personal goals by perhaps attempting to read twenty novels this year or aiming to try a new food once per month. Regardless of how you craft your resolutions, I hope your 2022 is off to a great start.

Headshot of Ethan SheaEthan Shea is a first-year English Graduate Student and Graduate Assistant at Falvey Memorial Library.


Cat in the Stax: Resolutions Reimagined

If 2020 has taught us anything, it’s that sometimes things happen and absolutely nothing goes according to plan. This lesson is something that we need to internalize and remember going into 2021 and beyond. Take a minute, stop reading, and think about all of the New Year’s resolutions you made last year that you completely forgot about when March hit. For my first Cat in the Stax of the year, I want to change the way that we think about “New Year’s resolutions,” especially with many of your resolutions potentially pertaining to the new semester that’s right around the corner.

According to Google, a resolution is, “a firm decision to do or not to do something.” In my opinion, humans just aren’t good at that, we’re wishy-washy and that’s totally okay. So let’s stop setting ourselves up for failure. If I make my New Year’s resolution to workout 5 times per week, the first time that I don’t do that, I’ve technically failed. Instead, let’s think of this new year as a time to reassess our goals.

By changing our mindset and making goals instead of declaring resolutions, we offer ourselves more grace and can celebrate the progress made. In 2020, I set my reading goal on Goodreads to 25 books, as of December 13 I had read 9. Instead of thinking of that as, “Wow, I failed!” I can focus on the fact that had I not set that goal, maybe I would have only read 3 or 4 and missed out on reading fantastic books.

Goals partially completed at the end of each year can be seen as progress markers. I now know that I read 9 books in 2020, and I wish that I had made reading more of a priority. In 2021, maybe my next goal is to read 15 books. It’s not that lofty 2020 goal of 25, but I took the progress I had made and can now work to beat that.

To encourage you all in crushing your goals for 2021, here are some of my goals for the Spring 2021 semester:

  • Get to know two Falvey librarians better
  • Engage Cat in the Stax reader’s by replying to every comment
  • Read 5 books off of the Falvey shelves
  • Take my own photos for 50% of my Cat in the Stax 

What goals do you have for 2021 and how can Falvey help you crush them?

Jenna Newman is a graduate assistant in Falvey Memorial Library and a graduate student in the Communication Department. Current mood: Figuring out how to crush my goals (& 2021)!


New Year’s “Readsolutions”

By Daniella Snyder

I’m Daniella Snyder, a graduate student at Villanova University, and your ‘Cat in Falvey Library’s Stacks. I’ll be posting about academics–from research to study habits and everything in between–and how the Falvey Library can play a large role in your success here on campus!

My favorite part of a new year is asking people about their resolutions. You can learn a lot about a person through their goals: what their passions are, what they’re afraid of, or the kind of person they want to become over the next 365 days.

This year, I made some resolutions I’ve never made before. Since I love to cook and try new things, I promised myself to try one new food every week. My mom and I are happiest when we travel together, and this year I hope to travel to four new states with her. Finally, in an attempt to be a “mature adult,” I will start investing my money this year.

However, each year, I always make a “readsolution:” a resolutionfor books! In 2020, I am committed to reading 50 books. While I do not make a strict list of what those 50 books will be, I always like to begin the new year by researching the best books of the last year as well as the most anticipated books in the year to come, and you’ll find some of those books below.

Do you have any “readsolutions?” Tell us! Message us at @villanovalibrary on Instagram or @falveylibrary on Twitter for a chance to be featured!


The Topeka School by Ben Lerner is not only one of Barack Obama’s favorite books of 2019, the novel also made the list of “Top 10 Books of 2019” on the list published by The New York Times and The Washington Post. Lerner writes a tender and expansive family drama set in the American Midwest at the turn of the century: “a tale of adolescence, transgression, and the conditions that have given rise to the trolls and tyrants of the New Right” (

little women book cover


Little Women by Louisa May Alcott isn’t a new book, but there’s been a buzz surrounding the classic book because of the brand new and (already critically acclaimed) movie starring Laura Dern, Timothee Chalamet, Saoirse Ronan, Emma Watson, and Florence Pugh. If you haven’t read this book since middle school (like me), maybe the book deserves a fresh read.




Literary genius Zora Neale Hurston passed away in 1960, but Genevieve West edited and compiled 21 found short stories of Hurston’s to create the new Hitting A Straight Lick with a Crooked Stick: Stories from the Harlem Renaissance. The book is “an outstanding collection of stories about love and migration, gender and class, racism and sexism that proudly reflect African American folk culture that enriches our understanding and appreciation of this exceptional writer’s voice and her contributions to America’s literary traditions” (Google Books). To read an excerpt from the book, check out the New York Times article here.



Voyage of the Sable Venus and Other Poems is the debut collection of poetry by Robin Coste Lewis. The Collection won the National Book Award for Poetry in 2015, the first debut collection to win the award since 1974. Coste Lewis will be visiting campus on April 21 as part of Villanova University’s 22nd annual Literary Festival. She will speak at 7 p.m. in Falvey’s Speakers’ Corner, and the event will be followed by a reception and book signing. To learn more about the other authors coming to Lit Fest, click here.

(Images sourced from


Daniella Snyder HeadshotDaniella Snyder, Graduate Assistant in the Communication & Marketing department at Falvey, read 47 books in 2019. Some of her favorite 2019 reads were Educated by Tara Westover, The Female Persuasion by Meg Wolitzer, To The Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf, Becoming by Michelle Obama, and Three Women by Lisa Taddeo.





Last Modified: January 15, 2020

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