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Poll: Are New Year’s resolutions worth making?

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Lyla Pak

Whether you spent New Year’s Eve watching the ball drop from your couch and going to bed at nine, staying up late at a party or eating grapes under your kitchen table, we’ve all heard of New Year’s Day resolutions. Some of us have even made them. Most of us probably won’t stick to them. But who knows? Maybe this year is your year. The Life Section of The Paw Print recently polled the Upper School community to learn more about students’ and faculty’s New Year’s resolutions.
As it happens, people on the whole believe that New Year’s resolutions are generally helpful, with 44.4% answering “yes” and 37.5% answering “sometimes” when asked if making resolutions is worthwhile.

Breaking this data down by grade, freshmen and sophomores are slightly divided in terms of the effectiveness of resolutions. When asked about the effectiveness of resolutions, 78% of freshmen and 75% of sophomores answered “yes” or “sometimes.” Interestingly, 100% of juniors who responded to the form answered that New Year’s resolutions are effective. Obviously, they are all either high achievers or aspiring high achievers. Either way, congrats, class of 2025 — we’re expecting big things from you this year.
That being said, with age inevitably comes indifference. Once your junior year dreams are crushed, it all gets a bit vague. In the senior class, 27% answered that resolutions are worthwhile, 36% answered that they are not, and 36% answered that they are only sometimes worthwhile. They’ll have to get back to you on that. Eventually.
But, if you thought the seniors were indecisive, the faculty are even worse! 63% of faculty answered that resolutions were sometimes effective, with 27% answering “yes” and 9% answering “no.”
In terms of gender, 85% of the female-identifying students and faculty, who made up 59% of the responses, answered “yes” or “sometimes” to the effectiveness of New Year’s resolutions. Male-identifying respondents (37% of respondents) answered “yes” or “sometimes” 73% of the time.

When it comes to actually making resolutions, roughly half (56%) of the community has made resolutions for 2024.
To understand why those who believe in New Year’s resolutions still choose not to partake in them, we asked the Poly community why they were or were not making resolutions. Here are some of their responses:
“It gives you a purpose. I think if you set a New Year’s resolution every year, you will always be working towards something and as you achieve each goal, you will be able to set more.” — freshman
“It helps me see how far I’ve come each year.” — freshman
“Because if you do them, then, yay, and if you don’t, no one cares.” — senior
“I don’t see why hitting a random date is the cue to come up with resolutions — my goals have not changed from December 31st to January 1st.” — sophomore
“Personally, I like to create my goals as the year progresses because I’ve found that goals I set at the beginning of the year don’t really have insight into how the future and the rest of my year will go.” — senior
“I usually forget about them by January 2.” — faculty member
“Because you never act on it.” — freshman
So, what are Poly students and faculty resolving to do? Like most of America, the most popular resolution category was fitness or health related (64%). The following three most popular categories were general self-betterment (52.5%), academic or school-related goals (50.8%), and social or relationship goals (40.7%).

Here are some particularly specific and honorable resolutions that Poly students have made for this year:
“Mine is to be better at comebacks, so BEWARE…” — freshman
“I have resolved to get at least three inches taller.” — junior
“Work towards starting a YouTube channel.” — faculty member
“Create a deeper Buddhist practice.” — sophomore
“I want to get [a] 1000-day Duolingo streak.” — freshman
“Survive my first year of high school.” — freshman
“Donate blood more regularly.” — faculty member
“Be able to touch my toes.” — senior
“Obtain a romantic partner.” — sophomore
“Wear less mascara.” — freshman
“Adopt more cats.” — faculty member
“Better at life.” — junior
“Gotta get back in the game.” — faculty member

 

Ultimately, the Poly community seems to see the value of goals. While not everyone believes that these goals need to be set strictly at the beginning of the New Year, there are some strong ambitions in this community. The poll has shown us that most of us are creating resolutions, so remember to support your friends and hold each other accountable!
Whether your goal is improving your quality of life, becoming an academic weapon, or showing the haters who’s boss, here’s to hoping you stick with it and stay disciplined this time.
If not, there’s always time in the future — tomorrow, next month or next year. Perhaps the spirit of New Year’s resolutions is best summed up by a female faculty member who wrote, “I have yet to start my resolution! Maybe I’ll start next week!”

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About the Contributors
Maddie Hays, Life Editor
Grade: 12 Years on Staff: 4 Fun Fact: I've been to 8 countries and 25 US states. Favorite Books: The Secret History by Donna Tartt, Red White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston
Lyla Pak, Student Contributor
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