New Year Resolutions {The Teenager Edition}

The following post is written by Christina LaPlaca, a high school student and part of the Honors Mentorship Program at Forsyth Central.
There’s one thing that always keeps a teenager motivated to push forward, one symbolic plan that helps us feel like we have more control over our lives: our New Year’s Resolutions. Whether you’re a freshman trying to get acclimated to your new school, or a junior hoping to get your grades together before college admission season, this one action at the beginning of the year helps all of us get back on track, propelling each and every one of us forward to finish out the school year with a bang. All we have to do is put the key in the ignition, and start rolling on the highway to change. It, of course, only sounds like the perfect road to take at the beginning. But when we realize that we actually have to work to change our lives, then all we want to do is jerk that car-of-change in reverse. Who needs a tangible life plan anyway? Twitter sounds a whole lot more intriguing…
But wait! I know that’s not how I want to spend the rest of this school year; my plans are worth fighting for! The issue is, though, so many teenagers give up on their resolutions just weeks after they’re made; sometimes, we don’t ever get as far as to come up with them! Well, this year is going to be different. Not only do I have a couple of popular resolutions that teenagers can use, but I also have a couple of ways to keep them!

Healthier Lifestyle

This is one New Year’s Resolution that everyone makes every year. We always promise ourselves that well eat better and run more, but let’s be honest; between school, our homework, and other extra-curricular activities, when would we even have time to plan it all out? That in and of itself seems impossible, so sticking to whatever loosely tied plan we may have come up with always ends with failure. Not to mention, French fries are really good…
There is, however, another solution. This year, for instance, I have made it my personal goal to live healthier. But between my never ending activities, sports, AP classes, and well, sleep, I never thought I would have time to figure anything out. It seemed so hopeless; I almost quit before I even started. What I ended up doing, though, kind of shocked me. I decided to write out a weekly schedule, and I figured out a way to fit my planning time in. Then, all I did was research ways to stay in shape. I even found a personalized meal plan I could revert back to. So far, I’m sticking to my guns!

More Optimism

This year has been a whirlwind of emotional confusion. I know that I can only speak for myself, but I’ve found that almost every teenager just goes through a period in which positivity is a foreign concept. In my case, for example, life just felt like it was slipping between my fingers; I couldn’t get a tangible grasp on anything! Between figuring out how to manage my classes, trying to balance a social life, and basically just finding time to sleep, I’ve been a mess of pure, unadulterated negativity. Because of this, I decided to go above and beyond the normal “resolution standards”. This year, I made not one, but two New Year’s Resolutions. The second was to simply look at the world through a different lens and try and see the best out of every day.
Now I know that everyone always says, “The day is what you make it”, but it wasn’t as simple as that for me. Don’t get me wrong; those words speak a heavy truth. When I was younger, all I had to do was choose to be optimistic, and everything would eventually work itself out. But last year, it seemed like a grey cloud loomed over me wherever I went. This year, though, I decided to take a firm stance on how I viewed the world. If I ever started to feel gloomy or stressed, I forced myself to focus only on the good, beautiful world around me. Even though some days I would end up thinking, “today just isn’t my day”, I found myself remembering that no day was ever mine to claim: every day was a day that The Lord made, so I needed to rejoice and be glad in it. As long as I remembered that verse and focused on everything good and positive in the world, a more optimistic attitude didn’t seem like such an unattainable goal.

Better Grades

Whether you’re a straight A student, or are just barely scraping by, almost all high schoolers want to keep their grades up to par. We always start out the school year by commanding ourselves to study, work hard, and achieve greatness; somehow, though, our plans just seem to fall apart. Once the New Year comes around and the second semester stars, however, we finally realize that we have a class to pass. But, what’s to keep us from abandoning our aspirations yet again? I mean, we do have the report card from the last semester to prove it can happen.
This careless way of thinking, though, is not the way to go about this situation. Everyone falls short of finishing our homework every once in a while, so a couple of mess ups are no excuse to give up. One way that has certainly helped me over the past year is to get a planner. I know, it sounds cheesy and typical, but flooding all of your ideas onto a page not only helps clear out your mind, but also helps give you a clear, written picture of how your planning should go. This way, you can fit in all of your homework, no matter how many other activities you have to do! I know that sitting down and writing a paper may not seem like the best way to end the day, but it has to be done. At least this way, some of that stress may be relieved and you can finally focus.

Work Harder

No matter what it is we are doing in life, we always end up letting ourselves down in one way or another. Whether it be a sport, school, or even obligations to family and friends, we teenagers somehow find ourselves not putting in enough effort. Maybe it’s just a phase that we all are forced to go through, or maybe it’s just plain laziness. Whatever the case, sometimes we just want to start the New Year with a fresh outlook on life, one that includes a particular drive and motivation that we always lack.
One way to keep yourself from giving up on a resolution such as this, is to reward yourself every once in a while. If you complete your task, let yourself celebrate! For example, if you finish your math homework, acknowledge your accomplishment with a coffee with your friends, or give yourself time out to watch your favorite television show. There are endless prizes you could give yourself, all while adding a sense of accomplishment to the mix! 

Figure Out Life

Eventually, each teenager is going to hit a wall of confusion, stress, and complete disorientation. (For some reason, Life decided that it was a good idea to put that in fine print on our job descriptions). Sometimes, our only way to get a solid grip on our surroundings is to just sit down and make a plan. What better time to do that than on New Year’s!
Even if one of the only goals you have is to just figure life out, there’s not much that can go wrong. While life is a lofty, daunting idea, as long as you don’t procrastinate on this one, you can check it off of your list in no time! All you have to do is collect yourself, and think through everything. Once you do that, contemplating life doesn’t seem like too great of a task! One never-failing trick that I use, which always focuses my mind, is to take a deep breath and relax. Take a nice, warm bath; read a book in front of a soft, cozy fire; drink a hot cup of tea. Immerse yourself however you please, and just relax. This way, not matter what challenging task may sit in front of you, you have the wits and strength to figure it out!
Whatever your New Year’s resolutions may be, as long as your motivation keeps powering on and you reward yourself every once in a while, this whole “sticking to your guns” thing doesn’t seem so out of reach. Even though teenagers may be fickle, unsatisfied creatures, through this symbolic plan, we are finally able to feel a sense of contentment. We can finally plow through our resolutions.

Christina LaPlaca is part of the Honors Mentorship Program at Forsyth Central High School. She recently shared some facts about herself. You can read that article here.
To learn more about Christina and our other contributing writers, click here.