On New Year’s Eve, when Essence Darden, a sophomore accounting major, made her resolution to be more positive and relaxed about things, she didn’t realize how hard it would be to keep.
New Year’s resolutions are hard to sustain for many people. To maintain dedication, some people have “cheat days.” Darden, however, thinks of these days as a reward and a chance for re-centering.
“For me, the resolution isn’t set in stone,” Darden explained. “It is meant to help me change my lifestyle to be more healthy, and if I feel I’m starting to give up, I’ll give myself a reward.”
The same goes for sophomores Paxton Thompson and Taylor Keil. Thompson and Keil said they believe that the key to success is supporting themselves through their difficulties.
“My New Year’s resolutions is to be nicer and work out more,” Thompson said. “I have the nice part down, but sometimes working out after a long day of classes is hard. When classes get me down, I would rather sit down and watch Netflix and chill with friends than constrict what time I have to myself by going to the gym.”
Keil said she also struggles with a similar resolution, although she has run into different problems, as she has a harder time eating properly than working out.
“I do cardio and go to the gym, but I have a tough time eating right,” Keil said. “I never grew up learning to cook since my family ate out most nights, so I usually end up at fast food. Even though I eat less than I used to, it’s still unhealthy for me. I want to change and have been trying but it’s still hard.”
Keil also said she has realized that to make her resolution have lasting impact, she has to try harder.
“I have been learning to cook through Facebook, cookbooks and friends, but it’s still hard,” Keil said. “Following directions may seem easy, but when one tablespoon of the wrong ingredient makes it taste bad, it matters a lot.”
Darden agrees, saying that without proper rewards, keeping a New Year’s resolution is almost impossible.
“If I couldn’t have a cheat day, I would have given up within a month,” Darden said. “New Year’s resolutions are supposed to be hard and create a change in how you live. Without having a day to yourself, where you do what you want and just relax, that would be almost impossible. When I am having a rough day and need somewhere to recollect myself and just get ready for the rest of the week I go to Kuroshima and chill with my friends.”
Keil finds a similar comfort in familiar places.
“Without having a place where I can go and feel like home, I couldn’t complete my New Year’s resolution,” Keil said.
“I go to El Tequila and order the chicken quesadillas because they are my favorite food, and they taste so good. I don’t know if I could continue on my resolution without days to myself.”
Thompson said she uses a trip to her favorite restaurant, Barberito’s, as an incentive to keep going.
“I couldn’t imagine how I could do my New Year’s resolution without having a day off,” Thompson said. “Without a day off every once and a while, I would die due to my commitment. I’m used to going to the gym to stay fit, but not every day. It’s too much and just not like me. However, when I feel like this I can go to Barberito’s and order a burrito or burrito bowl and relax and have a great time.”
Without these relaxed days, New Year’s resolutions would be impossible.
“I hate when people call the days to themselves ‘cheat days,’” Darden said. “I have earned them, and I am rewarding myself with a day where I don’t count calories or worry about much more than just having a good time, so I feel like those should be called reward days.”