Chances are that all of your New Year’s resolutions have already been broken. 

Maybe not all of you, a few people may have been really smart and kept their resolutions to “smile at least once this year,” “eat at least one piece of fruit this year,” or “continue breathing this year.” And if a joke was told, fruit was served, and your respiratory system worked for at least a few seconds at the New Year’s party after the ball dropped, you succeeded. 

To those of you who did this, I tip my hat and congratulate you on making your resolutions easy and doable. To the rest of you who have already broken yours, maybe don’t set your goals so high next time. 

Let’s face it, we can’t be nice to everybody every second of the day, we can’t eat healthy every meal, and we most likely won’t end up running 50 miles a day with a water buffalo tied to our backs to add extra weight. The truth hurts. 

The funny thing about New Year’s resolutions is that they’re usually the same thing year after year and are usually broken very soon after the ball drops. 

“I promise to enjoy life more and always be more — wait? What? The ball dropped? It’s the New Year? I missed it?! Well this is worthless! Why am I even here…” See? It’s barely the New Year and this poor fellow has already broken his resolution. 

That’s another thing. New Year’s resolutions are often things that we have minimum control over. You want to enjoy life more? OK. But true joy is finding something good to be thankful about in the worst of situations. True joy is when you’re faced with some of the hardest problems and you still smile, make other people smile, and let absolutely nothing turn your mood sour. That’s true joy.

I doubt when people make New Year’s resolutions to “enjoy life more” they don’t mean that they want more pain so that they can be joyful. What they really mean is “I want to take advantage of every opportunity and not miss out on good times.” Am I right? So that should be their New Year’s resolution, otherwise it’s a lie. 

My philosophy is that you should make a New Year’s resolution, yes, but use it as a goal, not a strict and rigid law that you have to follow. Say “I will try to be nicer this year,” instead of “I will be nice to everybody.” Try “I will try to see good in every situation,” instead of “I will enjoy everything.” 

Try to make your resolutions things that will make you a better person. Trying to see good in every situation, when done enough, will become a habit. By doing that you become joyful. People prefer to be around a joyful person rather than a complainer. By trying to be nicer, that puts you in the right mind-set to be a nice person. Your more realistic goal of nicer may lead you right to the rule resolution of nice.  

Think about this for next year. Or pretend it New Year’s Eve again and make a new resolution. One that will last a little (or a lot) longer.

Miriam A. Thurber is a sophomore at Unatego Central School. ‘Teen Talk’ columns can be found at

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