Aside from waking up to too many Christmas chocolate wrappers strewn across the living room floor, I also arose asking myself the most common New Year’s Day question: “What should my resolutions be for the new year?”

Apart from my persistent dreams of meeting Margaret Atwood or John Green, a chaos of possible goals swirled in my head. I thought about many potential objectives, but none of them felt quite right. Like visions of sugar-plums, I tasted each of them before coming to the conclusion that they were all stale.

That’s one of the things about New Years; it is viewed as an afterthought to Christmas.  It’s not until the clock strikes midnight do we begin to think about what we can give up for the next year.

As I embarked on the first day of 2017, I realized there was absolutely nothing I wanted to give up. Although I might benefit from letting go of my nail-picking habit, this type of resolution seemed laughable in the grand scheme of things. I don’t trivialize these types of smaller scale personal goals, but wasn’t there something more awe-inspiring where I could set my sights?

emily-coppella-jan-blog-post2017, Back at School

All things considered, returning to school after Christmas break was not as hard as I expected. I mean, I’m already halfway through my first year! In only a few short months I would be celebrating my birthday, coming home for reading week, and then preparing for the chocolate-induced coma we know as Easter. Concentrating on these glimpses of the future distracted me from my lack of a New Year’s resolution.  The thought of establishing New Year’s goals for myself had officially turned from stale to rotten.

I began to wonder if my desire to dream up some great goal was unattainable for the moment, or even worse — impossible. I didn’t want to settle for anything less than ‘spectacular,’ so I continued hoping a single moment would shed some light on a perfect resolution.

The week passed, and here’s the truth — my monumental resolution never came. Surprisingly, I’m feeling okay about it. I’ve come to terms with the fact that my hunger for a ‘big dream’ was quelled by the realization that small resolutions are not necessarily inferior.

Too often I have equated momentous occasions with success. Too often I have forgotten to congratulate myself on completing a challenging essay before swan-divining into the next one (albeit, not that gracefully.)

As I pondered all of this, one of my high school social justice club quotes loomed over me: “Be faithful in small things because it is in them that your strength lies” – Mother Teresa.

As strange as it sounds, Mother Teresa and the gym helped me realize where I went wrong with my New Year resolution. I saw people lifting 20-pound dumbbells as I struggled to keep up with my 12-pound ones, I comprehended where I was mistaken. If I walked over and tried to curl those 20-pound weights, I would inevitably fail, but if I took my time to work my way up to that weight, it was a realistic goal. Possibly months of repetitions and sets would be required for me even to curl that dumbbell once, but it could be done. Success usually isn’t immediate, not even after that magical ball drops on New Year’s Eve.

I used to see January 1st as a reset button — a way to transform into something else. In contrast, my 2017 New Year resolution was more of a revelation. I’m not meant to change but grow. New Year’s is not merely the recognition of a new year, but an addition of another 365 days to the many awesome ones we’ve already had.

Here’s a better truth: Anything can be awe-inspiring.