Can people really change? The debate over this question has raged for years, with people arguing for either side with various pieces of evidence. One damning occurrence that supports the belief that  change happens in the beginning of January each year. This is because of the long-held tradition of New Year’s Resolutions, a time when people look back on the past year, and think of the personal changes they wish to make in the coming one. Even though millions of people participate in this tradition every year, there is truly no worldwide standard for a New Year’s resolution. But the intention is the same: as the year changes, people want to follow suit.

Every person has a different goal in mind when they make their resolutions, if they make them at all. Personally, I avoid making New Year’s resolutions because of the pressure I feel, both from societal expectations and myself by extension. But I am one individual person, who has my own goals and ideas for how I want to be year by year, just like everyone else who watches as the clock turns from 11:59 on Dec. 31 to midnight of Jan. 1.

Everyone’s resolutions look different, whether in content or style. Some people find that vision boards, posters filled with inspiring images, work for them. But for some, it’s simply not the right medium. Everyone moves and grows at their own pace, in their own way.

Franklin sophomore Emerson Porter finds that making New Year’s resolutions is a nice tradition since “it helps you reflect, and think about the things you want to accomplish and try in the next year.” Porter’s goal in making her resolutions is to help her learn new things, and remember her goals in the long-term. This year, Porter’s resolutions are to travel more, read two books a month, journal everyday, drink more water, and to get Franklin Women’s Soccer to the playoffs.

 Despite the opportunity, growing and changing from year to year is a slippery slope. You’re at risk of experiencing major disappointment if you don’t follow through with an expectation you set for yourself. 

It’s because of this that I did not originally come up with any resolutions for 2023. I felt content growing day-by-day, and felt no need to put a whole lot of pressure on myself. That is, until I walked into my English class with Emily Gromko, where our warm up was to draw what we want less and more of in 2023. And let me tell you, my Pilot G2 pen was flying across that scrap of paper. The lack of pressure and expectations gave me the freedom to really think about what I want my life to look like as I move forward. I have since decided to hang this paper on my wall for a little inspiration.

The expectations and pressures of New Year’s Resolutions is the reason that Ruben Navarrete, a Spanish teacher here at Franklin, is so broad with his resolutions, while still being kind to himself: “What was the point of [making super specific goals]? I’m just adding extra stress onto myself.” A lot of people tend to base their self-worth in the way they are perceived by outsiders, so New Years and resolutions are seen as a signal to try again and better fit the mold, year after year. “Sometimes we feel this societal pressure to do things because it’s a social expectation,” Navarrete says. 

Going into 2023, Navarrete resolves to slow down, and to stop and smell the flowers of life. He says, “I want to just enjoy the mundane; the silliness that happens at the dinner table with my kiddos and my wife, the silly dance parties that we have as we make food.” Navarrete’s goal with his resolutions is to find happiness in the world in order to keep ‘filling his cup’; to find some happy fuel to keep going, day by day. “For me, [my resolutions] are slow down. Enjoy the small moments and be intentional about that.” 

The euphoric feeling of making it through another year is often overlooked due to the expectation to change to better fit into the mold. Take a moment today to revel in pride for  yourself, and those around you, for having made it through another year. 

As we go into 2023, it’s important to remember that your goals are your own; there is no need for anything to happen on any particular schedule. You are the only one you are doing this for. The hardest part is staying consistent and strong, but I believe that this is the year people will achieve real growth, both at Franklin and beyond. 

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