By Isabella Daley
The third week of 2018 ended on Jan. 21, but the majority of students and teachers at McNicholas claim they are not yet quitting with their New Year’s resolutions.
In a recent survey, 62 out of 88 McNicholas students and teachers indicated that they typically keep their New Year’s resolutions for 1 month or longer. However, only 56 of the 88 had already made resolutions for 2018, and 16 were sure they would not. Opinions of the importance of New Year’s Resolutions vary widely.
“Each person has to walk their own journey,” theology teacher John Norman said. Norman cannot remember the last time he made a New Year’s resolution because it was “many, many years ago,” but he said resolutions “can be a good idea if [people] want to make a fresh start.”
Norman’s main reason for not making New Year’s resolutions is that he believes God works through people at all times of the year to direct them towards ways to better themselves continuously. “I might discern that the Lord is wanting me to make a change, and I try to respond to that at whatever point it is in the year,” Norman said.
In order to discern changes he should make throughout the year, Norman prays every morning before school and frequently consults people he considers wiser than himself. This process led to his becoming a vegan in the middle of one summer and to his deciding to take students to Louisiana in 2006 to help people struggling with lasting damage from Hurricane Katrina. “With a resolution, you think of changing a bad habit into a good one, but this [process] is ongoing.”
Sophomore Marie Steinkuhl said she shares a perspective on New Year’s Resolutions that is similar to Norman’s, and she has never made a resolution specifically for the New Year. “Why wait til [the] New Year to be a better person?” Steinkuhl said. She mentioned that she does make resolutions and changes to better herself throughout the year, though. “I find ways where I’m not being the best person, and I find ways to change that,” she said.
Some of the changes Steinkuhl said she has made for herself include attending weekly adoration at IHM, deciding to be open to everyone, and working to “give glory to God and not myself.” Most recently, she has committed to strengthening her relationship with her mom because she wants to avoid becoming distant or dismissive of her family even when she is busy. “It’s a daily [effort] to be a better person,” she said.
While senior Lauren Steinkuhl, Marie’s sister, shares Marie’s desire to find ways to better oneself, Lauren made a total of 26 New Year’s Resolutions for 2018. She started creating a list of resolutions about half way through December, and she grew enthusiastic about the phrase “New year, better me.” While Steinkuhl has been making a long list of resolutions since eighth grade, this year’s list is significantly longer than the first list of about 14 resolutions. She hopes her list will not continue to grow in coming years because “it’s a lot to do,” she said.
Steinkuhl’s resolutions span a broad range of topics from health wellness to creativity to school-oriented goals. “A lot of them are fitness goals, but some are weirder, like swing dancing,” Steinkuhl said. However, she said she believes she will be able to keep most of her resolutions for 2018 because she has mapped them out as a series of goals to tackle at different times during the year. “It’s not like I’m doing all 26 in January,” she said, “I’m making slow, incremental progress towards a better, more well-rounded me.”
Assistant Librarian Jane Ray told The Milestone about her more relaxed approach to New Year’s Resolutions. Until about 5 to 10 years ago, Ray made a resolution every year that typically involved trying to tolerate a new food she did not enjoy, such as mushrooms. However, eventually, “I felt like I’d put in all the work I was willing to do,” Ray said.
That was when she decided to start a “New Year, New Socks Initiative.” Every New Year, Ray now removes the worn out socks from her drawers and buys new ones to replace them. She said she sees this effort as a small, fun way to celebrate the New Year without the stress of making a resolution she might struggle to keep. “It [is] a lot easier to get new socks than to try to improve myself,” Ray said.
Senior Sam Veeneman said he only made one resolution to improve himself in 2018, and that resolution was “to not worry so much.” He was one of 7 survey respondents to say he made his resolution to help remove bad habits from his life. Veeneman said he wants to be less stressed about college, school, and social issues while “being more open to change and not taking life so seriously.”
Veeneman made his resolution because he recognized a need for an immediate change. “Stress about small things prevented me from enjoying certain moments in my life,” he said. He also said he has been working to keep his resolution in 2018 by taking moments to think through stressful situations, allowing himself to “realize it’s not a big deal,” and to take deep breaths.
The advice that Veeneman had for others dealing with stress or struggling to keep their resolutions was to “think of it not as a situation where things can get you down, but rather, let it be a situation where you can find ways to overcome your struggles and better yourself.”
Marie Steinkuhl said that people should not worry too much about failing with their resolutions. “If you fail, forgive yourself and move on. Change is slow, so don’t get mad at yourself when you wake up the next morning and you’re not different,” she said.
“If you think God is asking you to do it, try it, and see what the fruits are,” Norman added.
“Today is a gift and not a given right, so don’t worry as much. Everything will be okay,” Veeneman said.
Students at McNicholas share their habits about making New Year’s Resolutions with the Milestone through a survey. There were 88 respondents to the survey, conducted in the first week of January 2018.