New Semester, New Me

Ysabella Atehortua , Editor-in-Chief

   The coming of the new semester, to me, bears some resemblance to the new year. With my classmates and I making bold declarations stating, “This semester I will get all my work done on time and I will get good grades,” I get flashes of dejà vu to January 1st, when many made similar resolutions. Something about the start of a new chapter in my life makes me feel as if anything is possible. I can reinvent myself. I can break bad habits. I can become the person I wish to be. There are piles of scientific journals stating that resolutions do not work, yet we make them anyways. But what really makes these goals a reality?

  Maxwell Maltz, a plastic surgeon in the 1950s found that when he would perform a surgery on a patient, it would take them 21 days to get used to their new physical form. Some people have now taken this to mean that it takes 21 days to form a new habit. Now, I do not know if this is entirely true, but I know I work better when an end goal is in sight. Splitting the end goal into smaller parts has always worked for me. Instead of seeing a mile around the track and a long and tortuous journey, changing my perspective into a mile being just four short laps helped me run faster and view the experience more positively. So instead of seeing our bad habits as some big mountain we have to overcome, we can instead look at them as projects, completed in just 21 days.

  The next resolution I have made for myself in this new semester is to stop my procrastination. I know I can have a to do list as tall as the Empire State building, and still be found watching Youtube videos about the top 5 Pixar movies of all time. I know procrastinating is bad, yet I do it anyways. Studies by UCLA have found that the reason some people procrastinate over others is because they have something in their brain that scientists have named the “instant gratification monkey.” This “monkey” makes the sometimes pointless things people do to procrastinate more beneficial than the actual work. The research suggests, “One of the most effective things that procrastinators can do is to forgive themselves for procrastinating.” Because many people’s “instant gratification monkey” comes from feelings of insecurity, learning to accept your flaws and moving on has proven to be very effective in raising grades. The most beneficial thing a person can do to stop procrastinating as stated by the Washington Post, “Is to recognize that you don’t have to be in the mood to do a certain task — just ignore how you feel and get started.”

  The last thing I look to change about my habits in this new semester is my sleeping habits. I would like to abandon my days of late nights, drinking Rockstar instead of water. To do this, there is no need for science or evidence, just power. The power of my own self control.

  Ultimately to really make change in your life, my mom has always told me you have to have the will. This philosophy makes sense, everything innovation, every system once started as a dream. I can only hope as a naive 16 year old high school junior that this will can get me through my life. We all have goals we would like to accomplish, some take more struggle than others. Ultimately though– they all take the will, so I can only hope that with the right amount of perseverance, we can all become the person we wish to be.