With the start of both a new calendar year and a new academic term, resolutions to make this year better than the last rampantly abound, web pages and Facebook friends offering the best practices for a new year, new you.
While always well-intentioned, an opportunity to utilize the symbolism of beginnings for renewal and improvement, these resolutions can be resoundingly vague in their conviction to “let it go” or in their generic determination to “be more present.” Certainly, these types of resolutions work for some folks but often fall short without a more tangible place to start.
It’s Winter Term at Lawrence, where beyond everyone’s favorite pastime of commenting on the cold, it’s also an easy time to get consumed by work or isolated indoors. We may bring with us a laundry list of to-dos for improvement that begin with dutifully dragging ourselves to the gym the first week of class to get in shape or promising ourselves that this is the year we will finally visit a given city, yet these intentions can quickly become cluttered by consistent conflicts of obligation and duty (real or imagined) that emerge daily.
Rather than making a pact with the new year to “do more” and to “be better” in abstract terms, it may be more helpful to start small and to use the time and space we already have to do something that is attainable like reading a novel, watching a show or visiting a friend at another school—activities and goals for yourself that are achieved in the everyday.
It’s not likely that taking small steps will always bring you the success and invigoration to accomplish whatever you set your mind to—who does that happen to—but adding meaning to the day-to-day in small ways that are about you, regardless of what new ground it is breaking—or not—can be just as important as the big stuff.