As a sophomore in high school, English class was one of my favorites, but I disliked most of our reading assignments. I found The Odyssey extremely slow and A Tale of Two Cities wasn’t easy to relate to. After a few failed reading quizzes, I realized I couldn’t breeze through the class like I had the year before.
So I made a New Year’s resolution: actually read the books we were assigned. One of those quizzes included the SparkNotes entry for the assigned section, and we had to add details it missed–an impossible task if all you’ve read is SparkNotes.
I’d read the section synopsis ahead of time so I knew what to look for, and I’d read it afterwards to check I hadn’t missed anything, but I made it a goal to try harder in English class and actually try to get a grip on the co
ntent even if it was difficult.
Turns out, English class is much easier and worthwhile when you actually do the homework.
And, it also turns out, I am capable of fulfilling a New Year’s resolution.
It wasn’t easy. It took time and effort. But beyond the academic benefit of the resolution, I wanted to prove that I could attain my goal. Once I made it halfway through the year, it seemed silly to start slacking, so I made sure I kept it up through junior year as well.
(It’s worth noting that I completely fell off the the wagon during senior AP English and almost got a C in that class, but the reading was the least of the factors that contributed to that.)
I haven’t really made resolutions since then. There isn’t anything that compels me the way that goal did. And that’s the key to a successful resolution: it has to be something you truly want, and not for anybody but yourself.
Do you make resolutions? Have you fulfilled any of them?