Staffer Tries Following New Years’ Resolution

Keerthi Lakshmanan

      I don’t know about you, but every year I have the same resolution. The clock strikes midnight, and I think, “I’m going to start working out.” Exercising five times a week, waking up early, eating breakfast, you know—the whole package of self improvement. 

     Through 2020, you might imagine I was more successful with the free time of lockdown, but my drive to workout went backwards instead. So, with the new January of 2021 came a not-so-new resolution. Although, I’d realized I needed a source of motivation, or at the very least a source of accountability to ensure I stuck to my plan to exercise regularly. 

         Four of my friends promised they would join in on my resolution. Our basic parameters were: wake up at 7 a.m. every single week day, and cram in some form of exercise before we all sat down in front of our computers for class by 8 or 9 a.m.. Sounds terrible? It was. 

         The first day, there was a windstorm outside, so I took that as both an omen and my cue to not venture outside for a run. Awake and miserable at 7: 30 a.m., I managed a ten-minute ab routine, a shower, and made it to my first period. The second day I slept through my alarm. And the third day, and the fourth. 

       I think the biggest challenge was keeping perspective. Trying to adhere to routines and grant ourselves a sense of normalcy was harder than it seemed.

Was there a point in undertaking the self-improvement journey if I had no clue what the rest of my year would look like?”

— Keerthi Lakshmanan


School sports are on hold; I can live in pajamas; who knows how much longer quarantine will last? Was there a point in undertaking the self-improvement journey if I had no clue what the rest of my year would look like? It sapped my motivation to its dregs. As the month continued, I was exercising once or twice a week, and not at all on the weekends. Even though my friends did their best to call me each morning or text me to workout with them—I gave up far easier than I’m proud of.

       Of course, there were multiple obstacles. I am also not a morning person. I…might have set my goals too high. I decided to run a mile in the park near my house at 7:15 a.m. and made it two laps before I started questioning my entire life. Another bright Monday morning I woke up dutifully at 7 a.m. and then drove myself to get coffee instead.             

       To all of you who made New Years’ Resolutions in 2021 and even 2020, and to all of you who may not have accomplished them: I understand. And I’m realizing that it’s okay. My resolution was not a success for its first month, and I can only hope I’ll grow better at this routine for the rest of the year. As much of an excuse as it might feel to say the overused email-opener, this is an unprecedented time, it’s true. I learned that there are allowances I should grant myself without feeling guilty. The new year always spurs the idea that we should be making large life changes, but this year specifically has brought with it a different set of hurdles to overcome. It doesn’t mean I should give up, but it means I should work on a reasonable resolution. Now that I’ve suffered my month of 7 a.m. wake-up calls, I realize that the key to building sustainable habits lies in understanding what you, your body, and your mind (and maybe your friends) can afford to take on. Push your boundaries; don’t break them. Through February, if I can manage to exercise 2-3 times a week at any point in the day—that is progress, and maybe it will be a routine I can stick to.