COUMN: Resolutions are overrated, instead commit to what makes you unique


Dan Hahn

Dan Hahn is a graduate student studying English and can be reached at 217-581-2812.

Dan Hahn, Columnist

There is something about the new year. People shake off the cobwebs from the long holiday break and return to old routines with a new perspective. I do it too.

 I used to believe that being a person of principle leads you to the good life. I thought it was better to have principles than to be influenced by anything that comes along.

 However, principles are not weighed equally by everyone. It is true our principles will guide our actions, which will reflect how the world sees us. 

 I also noticed that it is unusual for someone to be praised for their principles, though it does happen from time to time.

 Mirriam-Webster defines a principle as “a comprehensive and fundamental law, doctrine, or assumption.” To me, a principle is simply a glorified opinion about how one should lead their own life. 

 When I realized that anyone capable of critical thinking can modify their opinions based on new information, it dawned on me that principles, perhaps, are not all that great. 

 Choosing and sticking to good strong principles is certainly important, but new information is always coming in.

 So, we may have a goal in mind or principle we would like to commit to in the new year. We make these new year’s resolutions believing that sticking to them will inevitably make better versions of ourselves.

 But, because a person can change their opinions and convictions at the drop of a hat, I must assert that the annual tradition of making new year’s resolutions is probably not worth your time.

 Of course, we all deserve the upmost respect for endeavoring to make ourselves better, but no one really cares if we stick to our new year’s resolutions.

 A person’s beliefs, principles, and even their new year’s resolutions are not written in stone. People can be fickle and change for any reason. Therefore, your beliefs, and even your principles, tend to be the least interesting thing about you. 

 A new year’s resolution is something we decide in a fleeting moment, so we shouldn’t place too much value in them, nor be too high and mighty about being a person that has stubbornly stuck to our principles, our so-called resolutions.

 The interesting aspects of an individual are so much more intriguing and fascinating. 

 A person’s innate characteristics, abilities, special skills, interests, talents, and specialties are the attributes that make a person most interesting.

 Who or what can explain why some people are endowed with special gifts that lead to the most fascinating creations and discoveries?

 These special gifts and curiosities are delightfully mysterious and well worth our time and commitment. For example, the ability to write a song, or an interest in pyramids, or the ability to make a quilt.

 If one is to engage in the tradition of setting a new year’s resolution, then invest in something that is entirely unique to you; not an opinion or principle, but a deep seated interest, or perhaps a relationship you have, or can rekindle, with another individual. 

Dan Hahn is an English composition/rhetoric student. He can be reached at [email protected] or 217-581-2812.