Time flies by fast, really fast. It is now January, and we are halfway through the school year. It feels like the first day of school was only yesterday, when my friends and I all anxiously awaited our schedules, eager to find out who was in our classes. We have made it through hard tests, quizzes and late-night study sessions. No matter your grades or small regrets, you should feel proud that you did your best. However, if you don’t feel content with what you have done thus far, there is still time to improve and succeed.
Picture 2019 as a blank slate. It is a new year full of new possibilities. A new semester of school, with new tasks and assignments to be done. Make a resolution. It does not matter what you’re planning on doing, whether it be taking on a new hobby, working to improve your grades or trying to incorporate Judaism more into your life. Form a plan and take small steps to progress gradually, such as setting small weekly goals for yourself. Daily reminders to say Modeh Ani in the morning when you wake up or to writing in a journal can prove to be helpful.
Large goals can be daunting, but small goals with little lifestyle changes can be more integrated into your daily life. Minor things like sitting up a little straighter or waking up ten minutes earlier for school so you can make yourself a healthier and more nutritious breakfast are good ideas. Maybe spend 15 minutes a day reading to improve your vocabulary, study for a test two days in advance, instead of the night before or take an hour break from screens a day to disconnect. Little changes like these can transform attitudes and perspectives greatly.
One of my goals this past year was to focus more on my Judaism. I wanted to strengthen my belief in G-d and become more knowledgeable about different topics, ranging from stories in the Torah, how people act towards one another, to davening. I knew I would not be able to accomplish my goal by myself, so I made a plan to make sure I was on the right path. I found people who to help me, like my teachers, my counselors from the previous summer and my friends. I began to ask more questions about certain topics and started to learn with other people about concepts I was intrigued by. Over time, my individual learning helped me become more interested in my Judaic studies classes. I was able to apply concepts that I learned outside of school to various topics that we were studying in class. The year is over, but I am not done with my goal. There is always room for improvement, and I will take what I learned this past year and continue to build on the progress that I have already made.
Don’t be nervous about starting. Nothing will happen if you realize you cannot fulfill your resolution. You can start one at any time, whether it be Jan. 1st or a random day in the middle of the year. It just so happens to be that people enjoy setting new goals up for themselves at the start of the year. So why not take advantage of that and go into 2019 feeling motivated and excited for all that you can accomplish?
Molly Feder is a junior at Hebrew Academy of the Five Towns and Rockaway. She is a Staff Writer for Fresh Ink for Teens.