Happy New Year, dear reader! Welcome back to Gainesville, to school and to your unbridled independence. Did you miss it? Judging by my extensive Twitter research, it would appear that a lot of you did. While I was conducting my all-important social media research, I also came across another common thread. Many people seem to have already crashed and burned in the pursuit of their New Year’s resolutions. This trend is not unique to 2018 — nearly every year I have been a user of social media I have noticed this. People exit a year with big plans and lofty goals for self-improvement. We set goals to accomplish everything from going to the gym to eating healthy, from stopping bad habits to being more positive. And each year, we get upset when we are unable to meet these goals.

New Year’s resolutions are unavoidable. Not everyone makes them, but enough people do that it is nearly impossible to make it through the transition between years without someone bringing them up. We ask each other if we have made any, and even if no one asked us, we can often find ourselves bringing them up as conversation or simply to make them more real. If everyone you know knows you resolve to go to the gym three times each week, you feel a lot worse if you stop going. Not only are you letting yourself down, but everyone else knows you are failing. I hate that this is true — that we habitually care more about other people’s images of us than we do about our own — but we cannot deny that often it is the truth.

I have seen many people saying they are choosing not to make a resolution. When asked why, they say it is because they know they will be unable to keep it. They had never been successful with one before; why would this year be any different? Well, that is the whole point of resolutions. To be different. To make changes. To improve, and to become even just a little bit closer to the person we want to be. In order for this to happen, we have to be different. We have to be motivated and convinced that this is truly what we want. If you decide along the way that you have done enough or that you really don’t want to keep up with your resolution, that is fine. It’s your choice; it’s your life. However, you should not choose not to make a resolution simply because you are afraid to fail. If we didn’t do things simply because we were afraid to fail, we would never accomplish anything at all.

We cannot forget that Jan. 1, while signaling the start of a new year and a new calendar, is truthfully just another day. It is a great day to start living your life the way you want, but, then again, so is any day. Any day is a great day to pick a new goal, start a new hobby, stop a bad habit or generally start being who you want to be. However, don’t let this knowledge or any fear or apprehension diminish your desire to improve yourself and your life. Make and chase a New Year’s resolution or make a resolution any day. Get that gym membership or go to that group fitness class. Make something healthy to eat. Call your mom more. Study more. Be nicer. Just as any day is a great day for this, so is Jan. 1. So is Jan. 12. Here’s to 2018, Gators. Let’s get it.

Taylor Cavaliere is a UF journalism and psychology junior. Her column usually appears on Mondays.