New Year, New Us


Katie Tanner, Writer

New year, new decade, new me, right? For many of us, the change from 2019 to 2020 marks a time to start working on our goals, hoping that this year (and this new decade) can be an improvement from the last.  Historians believe that the Babylonians were the first to practice New Year’s resolutions. In a twelve day religious ceremony called Akitu, Babylonian citizens would make promises to their pagan gods to do things like pay off debts, as well as reaffirm their allegiance to the ruler. 

Unfortunately for us, 4,000 years later, a lot of our New Year’s resolutions only last as long the 12 days they would spend on the ceremony; however, while motivation is still high and morale is up, what are the New Year’s resolutions for Bob Jones? Do the students and faculty at Bob Jones even care about New Year’s resolutions?

In student polls, the majority of respondents (a whopping 54.7%) said they did not have a New Year’s Resolution this year, or that they had goals but started working on them long before the year changed. Emma Leigh, a senior, said that she wanted to work towards “better organization and increasing [her] skills in Roller Blading.” She then added that “[she] did wait for organization, [but] started the roller blading one a couple months ago.” 

Others, like senior Toni Glover, said they purposely waited until the New Year. Her resolution is “To take better care of [herself], mentally, spiritually, emotionally, and physically.” Glover stated that “It just feels better to feel like I have a “fresh start”, even though I’m still the same person just in a new year.” She then added, “With the beginning of [a] new decade, it’s a nice way to start off.”

Of the 45.3% of students that had New Year’s resolutions, what are some common themes? Frequent answers include running more, drinking more water, or improving grades/standardized test scores. A junior, Logan Konopatzke said that his resolution is to “…run a sub 5 minute mile,” and that “[he] picked it for 2020 since [he] will have more time and more of a dedication to running.”

Some of the more unique responses included reading The Bible – specifically The New Testament – everyday, to text people back faster, and to “get buff”. 

But what about the teachers? AP Psychology and History teacher Michael Hoyle admitted that “[he] learned a long time ago to stop making New Year’s resolutions.” He then explained that “[he] used to have good intentions, but found that [his] attempts always fell short.” 

This seems to be a common problem for a lot of people, for both students and teachers alike. Daniel Sheng, a Freshman, stated that “If you don’t care about [the resolution] much, then it’s a waste of time; however, if you really think you can accomplish the resolution, then it is worthwhile.”

Nicole Murray, a PreAP English 10 teacher, offered another idea. Instead of making resolutions, she makes what she calls a “bucket list” for the year. This year, Mrs. Murray wants to “…go on a date once a month with my husband, do something for [herself] once a month, exercise three times a week, etc.” It seems that, much like a lot of students, self care is becoming a greater priority in peoples’ lives.

While there were mostly similar answers for many of the interview questions, such as what the subject had set for a resolution, there was one question that proved to be divisive: do you feel that New Year’s Resolutions are worthwhile, or just a waste of time?

It seems that most people fall into two categories: “Yes, New Year’s resolutions offer good motivation and give people a fresh start to change,” and “No, why wait until the New Year, just start your goals when you think of them.” Another issue many respondents had with resolutions is the sheer amount of people that start them, then quit. 

Jillian Nance, a Senior, sided with the first group. She answered that resolutions are “worthwhile because although you may only start at New Years, it gives you the motivation to continue and get better.” Her New Year’s resolution is to run daily.

Junior Carmen Fury, on the other hand, agreed strongly with the second group, stating that “if you are waiting for the New Years then you are basically putting off what you could start doing right now. For example, wanting to lose weight. If you are motivated to start losing weight right now then just start there. It’s pretty stupid to wait for a change to start when you could already start working for the change right then and there.”

Mrs. Murray claimed that “…New Year’s Resolutions are a great way to get you to reflect on the past year, but I don’t feel like people stick with them very often.” She added that, “People don’t see immediate results and drift away from them before they get started well.” 

Mr. Hoyle agreed, stating that “…often times the same “life obstacles” that kept you from fulfilling your resolutions in the old year are the same ones that prevent you from doing so in the new year. Goal setting is not a bad thing, but one should be realistic about the goals they are setting.”

Do you have a New Year’s resolution for 2020, or maybe even a new decade’s resolution? Is making one a good motivator, or a way to procrastinate? No matter what you decide on the topic, New Year’s resolutions have a lengthy and storied history, and could be around for another 4,000 years, so you’d better get used to hearing about them.