Commentary: New beginnings don’t just start on New Year’s Day

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A new year brings hope for fresh beginnings and resolutions to our previous lifestyles. The most popular New Year’s resolutions tend to stay the same with each year. For most people, their goals are to eat healthily, to exercise, to save money and to have better self-care. Why are the same goals recycled each year? It is because most people do not accomplish them.

Goal setting is the first step toward accomplishing an objective. A game plan is created when it is determined how and when a goal will be accomplished. It is important to have ambition and belief in oneself, but relying too much on mental intention is dangerous. Mental desire should act as an encouragement to achieve. Dedication is the self-discipline that is required to execute a plan.

In high school, I dedicated hours to decorating and listing my goals on a piece of printer paper. This was a fun activity at the time, but it did little to help motivate me. I rarely looked at my set of goals, because I usually achieved only about 25 percent of them. It became discouraging to look at it when only a few things were crossed off the list. Some of the goals were out-of-reach, and others I relied too heavily on my mental desire, which did not propel me to be successful.

I believe there are five reasons that prevent goals from being attained. The first reason is we lack the time to devote. It is hard enough to juggle education, work and family life at the same time, let alone have personal ambitions. I tend to over-commit, enjoy a multitude of hobbies and take on too much responsibility. This always makes me feel like I never have enough time to do the things I care for the most. At the end of the day, I feel unaccomplished and overwhelmed.

Some goals are unattainable or very unlikely to be achieved. These goals we know are impossible, yet we still write them down. When I ran cross country in high school, I would cry after races because I did not break my personal record for three miles. My goal was to run three miles in under 19 minutes, yet I had still not managed to run that mileage in under 20 minutes.

My third reason is that passion is absent in certain goals. Passion is essential to creating a game plan and achieving the goal. These types of goals tend to be superficial and filler. People who involve themselves in careers, such as YouTube for solely the money and fame tend to not be passionate about their actual content.

Goals can change over time, and sometimes the desire to accomplish them no longer exists. For example, I wanted to get into a high profile college, such as UCLA, because the only thing that mattered to me was the name and prestige of the university. But, when I applied for college, the least important factor in my decision was the name of the university.

The fourth reason is some goals are tiresome and not worth the hassle. Every year, I tell myself that I must get straight As in school, but then I realize how stressful that is when I am not good at every subject, and I have too many things to juggle.

The most significant reason why many of us are unaccomplished with our goals is that we settle with where we are at in life. We become content and are too lazy to want to change certain aspects of our lives, and that prevents us from becoming the person we want to be.

So, how can we avoid these common blockades? Well, for one, be picky with your hobbies and responsibilities. Not all responsibilities are avoidable, but do not commit to new ones if you still need to make time for your hobbies. Planners help set time aside in advance to do a little bit of everything.

Goals are sometimes unattainable when we are asking too much of ourselves at once. Change is a process and not a race. A more successful approach is to set smaller goals that lead to the ultimate goal. Measure your success in small increments. Overexertion can make the goal become taxing, which might encourage you to quit.

If you are trying to accomplish a goal without passion, then cross it off the list right now. It is an utter waste of your time to commit, and it will save you the disappointment. Math is a difficult subject for me, and I wanted to improved my skills by using education platform Khan Academy. Then I realized, I want to become a journalist, not a mathematician.

As we mature, our thoughts and opinions change. The goals we have today might be different tomorrow. Sometimes, we do not need to accomplish them anymore to be satisfied with ourselves. With age and experience, our mindsets and desires change, which should be expected and respected. It is interesting to look back on our list of goals and see how much we have grown.

Pay attention to your attitude and relationship to your goals. It might be helpful to gauge whether they seem like chores or aspirations. Delegate time and effort to your goals wisely and in moderation. Your goals should be enjoyable, not burdensome.

Oftentimes, we find ourselves settling with our lives. In our minds, we will always have tomorrow, next week or even next year to execute the plan for our lives. This is the worst mindset anybody can have. If you do not attempt to do something today, what makes you think you will tomorrow?

New Year’s Day should never be the reason we wait to make or achieve goals. There are 365 perfectly good days to live your life to fullest. Think about it like this– should you only show love and affection to those closest to you on Valentine’s Day? Of course not. Love should be shown every day of the year. Many of us, including myself, wait until Jan. 1 for a new beginning. But why wait if every morning is already a new beginning?