New Year’s Resolutions: Manhasset Edit


Christine Yoon, Contributing Writer, Editor-in-Chief

As 2016 comes to a close, we look back at the year in review (or try our best to forget the year) and look forward to a new year. Some, however, are also looking forward to New Year’s Resolutions.

The history of the New Year’s Resolutions is found everywhere. The first time people had New Year’s Resolutions was when the Babylonians promised their gods that they would return borrowed objects and pay their debts at the start of each year. The Romans made New Year’s Resolutions to the god Janus ( from whom we get the name for the month of January). During Medieval times, knights took the “peacock vow” reaffirming the commitment to chivalry. During Rosh Hashanah, Judaism’s New Year, people reflect upon their bad deeds during the year and seek forgiveness. Similarly, Christians practice sacrifice during Lent, which influenced the element of self-improvement of the New Year’s Resolutions. After the Great Depression, participation in New Year’s Resolution increased. Today, about 50% of Americans make New Year’s Resolutions. Those people who make common goals such as lose weight and quit smoking have a 10 times greater chance of achieving them than people who choose not to make resolutions. Men may be successful when they set measurable goals each week, called goal setting, and women may be successful when they made their goals public and received support from friends.

So why do some people not do New Year’s Resolutions? New Year’s Resolutions become difficult when people set unrealistic goals, make too many resolutions, don’t track their progress, and/or forget about them. They can become burdensome, even though their purpose is to improve life. Furthermore, people choose to improve themselves immediately, rather than wait until the New Year.  The most effective way to keep a New Year’s Resolution is to keep the goals as minimal as possible so you can focus more on them. Tips include keeping a streak of days completing each goal, making all the goals public, and making each goal part of a routine.

The point of New Year’s Resolutions is to set goals for yourself. In other words, New Year, New You. With the New Year, you start fresh with a clean slate and can keep a new track record of purposeful action.

In a quick survey including Manhasset teachers, I asked, “What is one of your New Year’s Resolutions? If you don’t have one, then please tell your reasoning against Resolutions.”

  •  Mr Keen: “I don’t do New Year’s Resolutions because I’ve always felt that I should accomplish my goals without needing resolutions.”
  • Mr. Jones: “My New Year’s Resolutions are to read more and to watch less TV.”
  • Ms. Sundar: “I don’t have any New Year’s Resolutions. I don’t have anything against them, I’ve just never had the habit of making them. Every day is a day we can improve ourselves! Why wait until the new year?”
  • Mr. McDonough: “Unfortunately, I am not much a resolution person. My reasoning is, why put off until the New Year what you can do today? In other words, if one wants to change or improve, why wait? There’s no time like the present.”
  • Dr. Dorman: “I have made no new year’s resolutions. I certainly understand the idea of making a new beginning with some promises to oneself (more exercise, lose weight, etc.) at the start of a new calendar year. I’ve tended to make those promises to myself when the need arises, although that has not made me any more successful at carrying them out. Throughout my career, I considered the first day of school to be my personal New (school) Year’s Day. I had usually spent time during the summer reflecting upon the school year that had just ended, and had given serious thought to how I could improve, how I might make myself a better teacher, etc. Those were my “new year’s resolutions.” Sometimes this resulted in dramatically different things – such as using balloons on the first day of school with the Pre-AP classes, do you remember that? For me, there was some serious instruction and purpose behind the blowing up, and sometimes popping, balloons and drawing oceans and continents on them.”
  • Sra. Wiley: “I resolve to learn how make authentic Mexican food – my favorite tacos al pastor.”
  • Ms. Petras: “I’m all for New Year’s resolutions! I like to hit “restart” and begin with a fresh outlook not only on January 1st, but also at the beginning of the school year. This year, I plan to find more time to focus on family and friends and enjoy the company of people I cherish. They’re what life is all about!”
  • Mr. Van Schenkhof: “My New Year’s resolution is to become a political centrist. I have come to agree with G. K. Chesterton: ‘The business of Liberals is to go on making mistakes. The business of Conservatives is to prevent the mistakes from being corrected.’ The only political hope for the nation lies with the middle ground.”
  • Mr. Montesanto: “My New Year’s Resolution is to eat healthier.”
  • Sra. Valesquez: “My New Year’s Resolution is to be a better person, a better grandma, a better mom.”
  • Ms. Barrera: “I have made a New Year’s resolution to start drinking less beverages with caffeine and to start drinking more water.”
  • Ms. Law: “My New Year’s Resolution is to be more open to changes and new challenges in life. Specifically, rather than approaching unfamiliarity with fear, I want to learn to approach uncertainties with more confidence and faith.”

The most popular New Year’s Resolutions include:

  • Eat healthy food, lose weight, exercise more, quit smoking, drink less alcohol
  • Think positively, enjoy life
  • Save money, spend less
  • Get a job, get a better job
  • Get better grades, learn something new, be more organized, be more productive, read more books
  • Volunteer more
  • Make new friends
  • Wake up earlier, sleep more
  • Get married, have kids
  • Pray more
  • Play more sports, do more activities
  • Spend less time on social media

Manhasset students could benefit from making New Year’s Resolutions. Obvious ones include:

  • Stop procrastinating
  • Spend less time on social media
  • Be less stressed

In the end, the goal is to improve yourself. Some people believe that the Resolutions brings burden upon the new year, while others believe that they facilitate goal-achieving. Do what you believe is best for you, but be open to different tips and ideas for the big 2017!