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The Power of a Sustainable Resolution: Reflections in the Second Month of 2024

Already in the third week of February, New Year’s resolutions can feel like promises from the past.  What felt possible, new, and exciting just one month ago has become a distant dream, overtaken by mundane work schedules, emails, homework, and countless chores.  Yet, as we move into the second month of 2024, I believe now is a better time than ever to consider these aspirations and ask, what is the importance of a good resolution?


It often feels like the culture around creating New Year’s resolutions is one of guilt.  “I should get to the gym,” “I should cook more,” “I should spend less time on Instagram.”  Our self-criticism seems to unravel and spur us into action.  And though it appears that this pressure falls mainly on adults, I think the effect also trickles down to teens.  Resolutions are one more burden in growing older and more “responsible,” one more way that we are led to conform to external and internal pressure.  


But it doesn’t have to be this way.  As a teen, I think creating goals for the new year can be an incredibly formative experience.  When seen as a chance to reflect and focus, these promises can provide a welcome reset from the fast pace of daily life and remind us to consider our overall health and well-being.  After all, there is no real point in trying to completely change our lives or punish ourselves with measures we know will eventually fall apart.  


Instead of looking at what I want to “fix” in the new year, I have found it best to encourage more of what inspires me.  For instance, I recently started violin lessons after not touching the instrument for three years.  I love playing music, but I let it go because I felt I didn’t have enough time or talent to enjoy the hobby.  Now that I have motivated myself to play again, I have made my days just a bit brighter by introducing a small pleasure back into my life. 


Finding inspiration like this is just one example, but if creating a resolution feels daunting, a good place to start is with self-care basics.  We can ask ourselves, am I getting enough sleep?  Am I drinking enough water during the day and eating food that energizes me?  Am I taking the chance to engage with friends, family, and community away from my phone?  Though it sounds mundane, a nap, a glass of water, or a conversation with a friend can feel rewarding in surprising ways.


By finding support and accountability in these goals, we can further the chance of making them last throughout the year.  A great way to do this is through positive networks at school, at home, and through other clubs and organizations.  At The Launch Pad (TLP), there are numerous ways that individuals can find support in realizing new commitments.  TLP offers mentoring services for educational goals, adventure outings for fun and fresh air, café internships for work experience, and much more.  Above all, this is a setting where peers can connect and support each other as they experiment with new hobbies and discover passions.   If we communicate our aspirations to others, we increase the chance of meeting them and creating active change in our lives, a fact that is recognized and encouraged at The Launch Pad.


We face so much pressure daily.  We set alarms, mark calendars, and interact with peers, parents, teachers, and friends until it becomes a chaotic spiral.  Because of the weight of these obligations, we tend to overlook our basic needs quickly, but they can be crucial in preventing burnout and sustaining us for the new year.  So, instead of repeating this cycle of self-guilt and failed promises in 2024, let’s begin again this month and focus on self-care sustenance.