Resolve to look back this new year

Annabel Sanz, Issues and Ideas Editor

This January, without fail, thousands around the world will crowd into their nearest gym, pen in hand, prepared to sign up for their yearlong membership as part of their newly implemented new year’s resolution. By March, these gyms will be significantly less crowded, housing the forgotten promises of a new year. Yet still, we continue to spend the final days of the year writing down the qualities we wish to change in order to improve ourselves, only to have them sit at the bottom of our backpacks or at the back of our drawers months later. Why make resolutions if we know we aren’t going to keep to them? Dare we go into a new year sans a declaration to shed ten pounds or spend less time on the computer? Contrary to popular belief, resolutions do not define New Year’s as a holiday.

The last big bang of the year, New Year’s Eve is often dismissed as a glittering, champagne-toasting event made for crowding around the television as Ryan Seacrest counts down the remaining seconds of the year while the infamous Water Crystal ball makes its annual descent. It may not be comparable to Christmas or Independence Day, holidays with historical significance, but that does not make the obvious impact of New Year’s resonate any less.

Instead of taking the night as one big party, let’s take it as an opportunity to look back on this past year, both the triumphs and the tragedies and resolve not to improve solely ourselves but to work together in the coming year. To prevent tragedies like the Boston Marathon bombing from occurring, claiming innocent lives; to reflect on those who brought us joy that are no longer with us, including South African president Nelson Mandela and ‘Glee’ actor Cory Monteith; to ensure that lives like Trayvon Martin’s are not wrongfully taken, and most of all, to appreciate those like 16 year old education activist Malala Yousafzai who risk their lives to fight for what they love.

Because isn’t that what New Year’s is about? Not the parties, not the glittery dresses, not even the resolutions, full of the hope and promise of a new year-a clean slate to make mistakes, new friends, new memories, and most important, progress. We look to move forward, creating a more tolerant society.

In a few weeks’ time, while we countdown the last seconds of 2013, let us reminisce and think of all we’ve been through this year, how much stronger we have grown. Has that come as a result of our crumpled up resolutions? Have they been what has guided and motivated us this year? Or has it been ourselves all along? Aren’t we truly our own motivation? Maybe this year has taught us a thing or two about life and maybe, just maybe, we will happen to forget about our resolutions in the midst of looking forward to the coming year.