When the clock struck midnight, people all around cheered, popped a bottle of champagne and perhaps even shared a kiss.

But as midnight turned to noon and confetti is nothing but a nuisance left to be swept into the trash, New Year’s resolutions are put to the test.

Because now the party is over and it’s “new year, new me” time.

But I don’t want a completely new me, just one that exhibits growth.

Every year, I make an internal list of resolutions, just to be discouraged when I don’t abide by my new ways of life that very day.

For years, I tried to make drastic changes starting Jan. 1 which makes the new year feel more like a punishment rather than a fresh start.

I will myself to not eat that leftover holiday fudge that taunts me from the fridge, be more outgoing and try not to spend so many of my Friday nights watching Netflix.

But that’s a lot of pressure for just one day.

As I get older, the more I realize radical changes often don’t yield the quickest results. Evolution is gradual and that’s OK.

Some things in life can’t be turned off automatically. Whether it’s cutting down on sugar or making more time to study, it’s a process.

The beauty of change is reflecting on the progress over time.

Imagine autumn leaves going from green to yellow over night.

If that were the case, what would we marvel at when summer bids us farewell?

Change is beautiful and every step of the way should be enjoyed.

One of my favorite parts of achieving a goal is appreciating the improvements I’ve made.

Take college graduation for example. Walking up on that stage and being handed that degree wouldn’t be nearly as gratifying if not for the sleepless nights, emergency cram sessions and gallons of coffee.

There’s nothing better than looking back to the starting point and seeing I’m closer to the finish line than ever before.

It’s good to have goals, but remember to make a well-structured plan in order to achieve it rather than expecting revolutionary advancement straight away.

New Year’s should inspire us to strive for better, not pressure us to rid of every vice just because the Earth is embarking on yet another trip around the sun.

Besides, goals are always more rewarding when they’ve been worked for.

So this year, I refuse to be disappointed and instead of feeling bad for enjoying left over holiday treats, I will indulge in that fudge that comes once a year and recuperate from the holiday stress by binge watching Netflix in my pajamas.

And as January becomes February, I’ll take satisfaction in the fact that I stayed out until 4 a.m. one Friday night and picked up a rice cake instead of chocolate.

Sure, it’s a new year, but I don’t want a “new me” — just a better one.

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