C/O Tim Mossholder, Unsplash

There are many reasons why making date-based resolutions doesn’t work out for most people 

By: Ardena Bašić, Contributor 

The new year is often seen as a fresh start for many, leading to a variety of resolutions that can range from healthier habits to career and professional goals. However, if we associate any given goal with a specific date or timeframe, it can be highly discouraging if we are unable to meet our original expectations.  

Instead, we should adopt a mentality wherein we begin our goals as soon as feasible — instead of waiting for tomorrow, next week or another significant date. This will allow us to be more flexible and proactive in reaching our goals, alongside overcoming a dependence on pure motivation to drive our behaviour.  

A common topic of conversation this time of year is our new year goals or resolutions. Yet, there are a myriad of problems with this date-based approach to our goals. Firstly, attaching a specific date to a new behavior can lead to negative consequences if we are not committed for a move into the “new.” 

For example, one could resolve to exercise every day in the new year, but immediately feel discouraged when they miss the first day or a single day following. This is one major cause of failure for many resolutions. 

Moreover, many individuals are not prepared to realize their goals by the time the new year begins. Considering that lasting change requires acceptance on a mental and physical level, many goals are not reached since Jan. 1 is an arbitrary date that is not individual to the person’s need for prior preparation and contemplation.  

Additionally, many people may be motivated by the environment and ambiance that the new year brings. However, this feeling does not linger forever so an individual is left to find alternative sources of motivation.  

This can be difficult and lead to further failure in reaching one’s goals if one does not find an innate passion — their own why — to continue their refreshed pursuits.  

Lastly, the new year is a general time that does not conform to individual needs. Many behaviors like exercising more, starting meditation or watching less television are common but not necessarily suited to a distinct person.  

In lacking specificity and relevance, a goal is not likely to be reached as a person does not evaluate them as highly vital to a lifestyle superior to their current one. It is clear to see that a new year’s resolution may not be in everyone’s best interest.  

It is clear to see that a new year’s resolution may not be in everyone’s best interest.  

Ardena Bašić, Contributor 

The best approach to a significant change is simply to start as soon as possible. If you want to start drinking more water, grab a glass as soon as you finish reading this article. If you want to make more time for friends, set a reminder in your phone to message a person at the same time each day.  

Rather than putting immense pressure on oneself to achieve something by — or start it on — a particular day, you are simply taking micro steps in the very moment.  

However, it should be noted that you shouldn’t be overtly pressuring yourself if you’re not ready for new things. Although some form of a “push” is necessary sometimes, it can be overly harmful in some instances.  

Although some form of a “push” is necessary sometimes, it can be overly harmful in some instances. 

Ardena Bašić, Contributor 

Be honest with yourself about what goals are right for you and when is the appropriate time to start. This will also be helpful in giving one time to internalize their motive — their true why — and disregard temporary external motivation that will not be as fruitful in helping achieve one’s goals.  

Although the new year seems like a suitable time to try new things, it can be more damaging than positive in some scenarios. It is vital that we are honest with ourselves in how and when we will best achieve our goals and allow them to come from a place of true commitment and desire as opposed to fleeting motivation.  

Making changes for us — as opposed to what’s happening around us — is where sustainable and impactful transformation truly begins. 

Fifth-year men’s basketball player Kwasi Adu-Poku shares how he created his own business to motivate others

As the fall 2020 semester comes to an end, students continue to struggle with finding the balance between work, school and extracurriculars, all the while keeping themselves safe from COVID-19. Fifth-year McMaster University student and men’s basketball player, Kwasi Adu-Poku has been through his fair share of ups and downs this year. From all the experiences he has gathered, he felt that it was a time to give back to the student community.

Adu-Poku created The Reach Series after coming across an idea from Vince Luciani of Legacy Coaching. From the guidance and mentorship that Luciani gave Adu-Poku, he felt that it was his time to share a message and help uplift individuals. 

“It gave me the confidence to make a business with the goal of empowering people,” said Adu-Poku.

The Reach Series is where Adu-Poku turned his real-life experiences into relatable lessons. From these lessons, he develops motivational workshops. His first goal was to run the workshops for four weeks in two formats: group settings and one-on-ones

A benefit of the group workshops that Adu-Poku realized was that attendees could relate to each other and thus the workshop itself became more interactive. In terms of the one-on-ones, he believed that it would provide individuals with more time and space for reflection, with some personalized guidance. 

“The big thing was that it was a constructive and organized way to uplift people through online workshops,” said Adu-Poku.

“The big thing was that it was a constructive and organized way to uplift people through online workshops,” said Adu-Poku.

Each workshop would be a safe space that was based on an experience of his own life. Although they are somewhat structured, Adu-Poku encourages all discussion within the space. For example, during the third week, his workshop dove into the issue of mental health, where he touched upon some of his own personal struggles during his past couple years of undergrad. 

“It is ok to have these problems and I hope to provide them with various outlets and resources,’’ Adu-Poku emphasized.

As Adu-Poku explained, the premise of The Reach Series is to relate to what is going on in the world and help uplift people to the best of his ability. One such example is a charity drive Adu-Poku co-created, in which they were able to raise $360.

“Why not support these causes but help the world on a larger scale?” said Adu-Poku.

Despite working for his older brother’s business in the past, The Reach Series is the first entrepreneurial endeavour Adu-Poku has embarked on. As a student, he understands the need to manage his time while also staying on top of school responsibilities.

“When I started to make [The Reach Series], it was a four-week blitz before school got heavy. It takes up my time with extracurricular activities and graduate school applications . . . Time and stress management [have] been key,” said Adu-Poku. 

“When I started to make [The Reach Series], it was a four-week blitz before school got heavy. It takes up my time with extracurricular activities and graduate school applications . . . Time and stress management [have] been key,” said Adu-Poku. 

From a business perspective, he has not suffered like many other small businesses have due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Since Adu-Poku is a student with career aspirations in the field of economic policy, his business likely will not be his main career when he graduates from McMaster. Yet, he continues The Reach Series in order to continue spreading messages of positivity. 

“Even with the prices I was recommended to charge, I lowered it and made it more affordable for people to [attend] these workshops. From a financial point of view, I charge a bit to value my time but ensure it’s worth it and accessible for [the attendees],” said Adu-Poku. 

“Even with the prices I was recommended to charge, I lowered it and made it more affordable for people to [attend] these workshops. From a financial point of view, I charge a bit to value my time but ensure it’s worth it and accessible for [the attendees],” said Adu-Poku. 

He is currently looking at making his business a non-profit organization.

Despite running the workshops by himself, he has hosted guest speakers in the past. His first guest speaker, Mussa Gikineh, was the 2020 valedictorian for the DeGroote School of Business. They both participated in a panel after which they discussed a possible collaboration that surmounted in the charity drive, which was actually created by both Adu-Poku and Gikineh. 

Just recently, Adu-Poku hosted the Hoopers Talk, an event where they looked at athletes from outside the court. The event acted as a space to support Ontario University Athletics basketball players after the cancellation of their season due to the pandemic. 

As of now, the workshops only run virtually. Despite it being convenient due to no transportation, Adu-Poku says he would like to bring people close in person, but only when it is safe to do so. With that being said, the feedback he received has been exceptional, with attendees feeling a new sense of community.

As Adu-Poku plans to graduate in April 2021, The Reach Series is something he hopes to continue on the side.

“I feel like using this platform to genuinely uplift others and interact with them can not only get me some income but also provide me some sort of fulfillment,” says Adu-Poku.

“I feel like using this platform to genuinely uplift others and interact with them can not only get me some income but also provide me some sort of fulfillment,” says Adu-Poku.

Photo by Cindy Cui / Photo Editor

By Yashpreet Birdi, Contributor 

Demonstrating leadership is a concept that we have all likely come across in our course outlines, student club activities or job postings. Figuring out how to show others your leadership capabilities can be scary for those of us who identify as introverted. But maybe we should focus on redefining the term “leadership”. I have realized over time that there can be many opportunities for introverted students to become leaders.

McMaster University is constantly promoting initiatives such as Welcome Week, student elections and executive positions for student clubs. These activities are constantly tied to being extroverted and well-suited for future leaders.

For example, these opportunities usually consist of campaigning and delivering speeches which require you to be comfortable engaging with others. In other words, you can’t experience terrible anxiety when you’re put on the spot!

Because of the popularity of such initiatives at McMaster, it can become difficult for introverted students to realize that there is also space for them to demonstrate and develop strong leadership skills. If you are introverted, here’s how you can become your own type of leader.

 

Dare to challenge traditional perceptions

When I, an introvert, used to hear the term “leader” I would automatically visualize an extroverted person confidently standing at a podium, making motivational speeches that would eventually propel others towards a brighter future. I would rarely imagine someone who is seen as more “behind the scenes”. Why are these quieter personalities not often described to be motivational, ambitious, influential and powerful? It’s interesting to see how our brains automatically connect certain terms with specific visuals. But my stereotype visual is not the only possible depiction of a successful leader.

Through my recent observations, I have seen that leadership can be diverse. In our everyday life, we can see the several personality types that surround us — not just limited to introverts and extroverts. All personality types have different abilities, strengths, goals and preferences.

 

Create your own definition for ‘leadership’ and ‘success’

The dream of becoming the next great leader forces introverts to reimagine their idea of success and leadership. Try the simple practice of closing your eyes and visualizing yourself as a powerful and successful leader. What do you see? What are your strengths? What do you bring to the table? When you have a strong passion to contribute to making the world a better place, you must not let biases against your personality type prevent you from working towards your goals.

 

Take advantage of unique opportunities

There are many opportunities for introverted students to showcase their skills without having to change their personalities to fit into traditional ideologies of success. 

Attending lectures and office hours for me is not only an opportunity to gain knowledge from experts. It is also a chance to get inspired and examine the hard work that professors perform behind the scenes to prepare for their academic duties. These experts have the amazing ability to influence various policy, health, science, politics and religious debates. Just by looking at these leaders, you can see endless opportunities for introverts. Think about the possibility of conducting research with your professors to contribute to their efforts of influencing the world.

Additionally, I believe that the best opportunity for us to demonstrate leadership is to exercise our right to vote as Canadian citizens. Commit to voting in the upcoming Canadian federal election on Oct. 21, 2019! If running for elections is seen as a leadership initiative, voting should be seen in a similar lens.

By making the firm decision to vote for the upcoming election, you not only take the initiative to take action, but you also strongly voice your opinion, and attempt to improve how our society and country operates. Does this not sound like taking a strong step towards leadership and making an impact?

 

Reflect, Define, Proceed, Repeat!

We should always remember that Albert Einstein once said, “Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.”

It is essential to reflect on your personal missions, define what success and leadership mean to you and confidently proceed in your individual path. And don’t forget to repeat this process whenever you feel overwhelmed during your journey towards success and strong leadership!

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Our Arts & Culture editor Andrew Mrozowski sits down with former Governor General of Canada, Right Honourable David Johnston, to chat about his career, tips he has for students and his book "Trust: 20 Ways to Build a Better Country".

By: Caitlyn Buhay

We’ve all been there; your alarm goes off at an insane hour in the morning, and you immediately hit the snooze button. As Iggy Azalea’s “Fancy” is cut short, you have a groggy recollection that the alarm was meant to get you to the gym this morning. But alas, you choose snuggling with your pillow over the less than tempting prospect of sweating in front of strangers.

But hey, it’s a new semester, and time for a new you! Maybe a new snuggle buddy too – the elliptical can be very emotionally sensitive if need be. So let’s start being smart about the gym. Here are some clever tips to get you to the gym, and fitting into your McMaster onesie in no time.

Assess your self accurately

Are you a morning person? If not, don’t plan for a 6:30 a.m. gym session. You falling asleep on the yoga mats is no different than being in your bed, except now you have the concerned staff at the Pulse prodding you awake instead of your alarm. Start by going at times you know are practical for you. Remember the gym has showers, so you could easily go in between classes and not worry about stinking up your astronomy class. Even though your sweat might smell otherworldly, I am sure everyone will agree that it is not relevant to the course material.

Cop some stylish gym wear

Not enough motivation for you? Buy some stylish gym wear, or an outfit you would like to wear if you were a bit more fit. See our article on New York Fashion Week to get some inspiration. Feeling good about the way you look can improve your confidence and willingness to get to the gym – just don’t get too entranced by your reflection in the mirror.

What's the cost of not exercising?

It might also help to remind yourself about the financial costs of not going to the gym. Think of how much the membership cost you, along with whatever additional costs: new running shoes, gym wear, etc. that is going to waste by not going. If you think of it in a quantitative way, every time you miss a workout you are losing the monetary investment you put into the gym. So don’t let your inner investment banker down – nothing is worse than being scolded by a financial figment of your imagination.

Ease into it

Lastly, try to wade into a new workout slowly. Don’t jump into a total body blast workout and end up injuring yourself before you even start to notice those bulging biceps develop. Look up a workout routine online that works for your weight, fitness level, and end goals. Or get advice from the helpful trainers at the Pulse. It might be a good investment to book yourself in with a trainer to get tips on how to use the machines properly to maximize your workout and minimize those pesky gym injuries. Having an action plan for the gym will not only help get you there, but will also help you use the time more effectively.

The gym is a great opportunity for stress relief and maintaining your mental and physical health. If you can find a way to get yourself there, your workout routine will follow and it can help you become a happier, healthier, hotter person to boot! Speaking of boot…get going! Don’t you have a workout planned for today?

Annicalxobia. Don’t let this word frighten you too much, but please know that at least one loved one leads a semi-crippled life due to the toxic/generally inconvenient infliction of this phobia. Hold the phone. Literally. I don’t want you calling your mom and confusing her with the vague concern you might be feeling right now.

If you happen to be keen on the Latin language (that makes one of us), anni means “new year” and calx means “goal”. Put it all together with a tail end of “obia”, and we have a whole new word for conceptualizing the fear people have over the creation and maintaining of New Year's Resolutions.

Please note, you will not, probably ever, find this word in any dictionary.

Mostly this fear comes from mankind’s widespread inability to keep our resolutions for a month, let alone a year. In fact, according to the Toronto Star’s statistics on New Year's Resolutions in 2013, 52 per cent of us forget about our vow to run 10 km every morning, or have eight servings of veggies a day or even snag a spot on Forbe’s Top 30 Under 30. A paltry 19 per cent of us succeed in keeping it for a whole year (standing ovation if you’re in this category).

But why can’t we keep these resolutions? To start, resolutions hold the promise of an entirely new “you.” You may imagine yourself having completely transformed your life for the better, all because you now stand on a foundation of a myriad of hugely ambitious goals.

Let’s say you really want to successfully whip up a multi-layered rainbow birthday cake for the fam, but you can’t simply paste a picture of that damn fine cake to the fridge and hope everything goes as smoothly as you imagined in your dream where you took on the culinary prowess of Julia Childs. No, no, no. Underneath that picture, there’s a recipe.

And that’s what we need to remember when tackling any goal - there’s a series of steps that need to be followed, to achieve the simplest and loftiest of New Year’s Resolutions.

Let’s consider two resolutions. My resolution could be to start flossing every night, which is really made up of one step (1. Floss), or to become a runner, which is made up of many, many steps (see what I did there?). Even with something as seemingly simple as flossing, the power of habit should never be underestimated. After all, there’s a distinct set of habitual behaviors that we don’t even think about, including that thing we do after brushing our teeth that generally includes collapsing onto our bed without once considering the dental implications of never flossing.

The only way to get around this is to incorporate your resolution into a set of behaviors that become as habitual as crashing into your cozy bed. Flossing is inevitably easier to maintain, however, because this goal is in itself an action.

All of our wonderfully wholesome goals require that recipe of success. If you want to be a runner, start by scouring your schedule for consistent openings that you can dedicate to running. Try on your sneakers, run around in circles in your bedroom, and see how those babies feel. If they’re killin’ ya, consider buying a new or used pair of shoes. Already, running has required a substantial amount of effort in comparison to flossing, but no less possible in attaining! Besides, the more complicated a recipe, the yummier it can be (re: rainbow layer cake).

On another note, anyone attempting to overcome annicalxobia must understand the imminent setbacks they’ll face on the way to achieving their goal. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and that rainbow layer cake wasn’t ready in an hour. There will be times you want to give up or maybe shed a single tear, but remember that you prepared for these setbacks. You knew they were coming and you prepared for them.

Make your goal visible on your bedroom walls or privately in a journal. Share it with your whole facebook feed or just your mom. Because if you chose a resolution that really means something to you, the most difficult part should be throwing it away.

Here’s to a 2014 where Mac students reach their New Year's resolutions.

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