You Don't Need A New Year To Become A New You

You Don't Need A New Year To Become A New You

Motivation doesn't come from the calendar.
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With New Year’s Eve just around the corner, resolutions are sure to follow. Pinky-promising yourself you’re going to drop those last five pounds, letting the entirety of Facebook know that you’re finally going to start your novel this year, and you and your friends hyping each other up about how this will finally be your year. We’ve all been there. Some of us will even be there in a few days.

The start of a New Year is a very exciting time, because with it comes the unknown. It’s a chance to finally be the person you want to be and make the changes you’ve always wanted to make. It’s a fresh start, and moreover, a reason to start fresh. I understand and can appreciate the excitement. I truly can. However, I personally do not partake. Sure, I’ll have some champagne, stay up well after midnight, and enjoy my New Year like everyone else, but I don’t make resolutions.

I am a firm believer in the power of the self and the idea that you do not need a new year to be better or to want better for yourself. I believe that people are always growing and changing and becoming better through each and every thing they experience. Learning is the name of the game, and I think people are constantly learning. Each day is a new opportunity to change yourself and make yourself better. Every day is a fresh start.

A new year is an excuse to turn yourself around, and for many, maybe the push they finally needed. However, motivation does not come from the calendar. Motivation is something that must come from within. Hence, why many people tend to fail when it comes to keeping their resolutions at first. Motivation stemming from somewhere besides yourself is not strong enough to elicit true change. You have to truly want to change. The drive has to come from an internal urge, not a social obligation born from tradition.

Furthermore, the custom of New Year’s resolutions doesn’t take into account how difficult it is to truly change. Especially if you’re making large lifestyle changes. Studies have shown that, on average, it takes over two months to form new habits. With the two-month finish line being somewhat daunting and more than a little distant, it’s easy to fall off the wagon, especially when you’re trying to change yourself completely, or undo deeply rooted habits.

New Year’s resolutions don’t allow any room for error. They appear to be just a final, all-encompassing goal, insinuating that reaching goals themselves is linear. Failure is not an option; it’s a requirement. No one that’s ever accomplished anything did it on the first try. It’s a matter of constant effort and yes, sometimes even starting over.

So why put yourself through it? Change starts one day at a time. And that change can start whenever you want. My goal for myself every day is to do better and be better for myself and by myself. And with that, I make sure to try new things every day and branch out and challenge myself all for the hope of a better me. By partaking in my own betterment every day, there’s a higher chance of success and even more so, I am constantly growing and becoming the person I want to be- everyday! It’s never too late to change yourself. And it’s never too early to start, either. So what are you waiting for?

Cover Image Credit: Wordpress

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5 Small Ways We Can Help the Planet Everyday, Not Just On Earth Day

Trust me, they're super easy.
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Earth Day has come and gone, but there are still so many ways for us to do our part and help our planet!

As a species, we have produced more plastic in the last ten years than we did in the entire last century. The average American throws away 185 pounds of plastic each year and half of it is only used once. When it's thrown away, the trash just floats along. Literally.

By 2050, there will be more plastic in the ocean than fish.

This is really really not good. But, luckily, it's almost entirely avoidable.

Here's a list of things we can all do to keep our planet pretty and kick some ass for Mother Earth.

1. Ditch plastic straws

Yeah, you've probably heard this one before — but hear me out. We only use straws once and then we throw them away. They end up in the ocean and kill sea turtles. We're all guilty of this. Hell, I used to drink everything with a straw. But the important thing is that we change our ways and better not only ourselves but the environment.

If you still wanna use a straw, that's totally okay! Try using a glass or bamboo one. You can buy packs of them on Amazon for less than ten dollars, which isn't bad considering you'll be able to reuse these as many times as you want.

2. B.Y.O.F. (Bring your own fork)

And your own spoon. And knife, as well. If you plan on going out for the day and you don't want to bring your own food, you can just buy your lunch and use your own silverware. This way, you won't waste any plasticware and there is no unnecessary waste from your lunch.

3. Cups, too!

While we're on the subject of just bringing your own stuff, bring your own cup when you're out for the day! Whether it's your water cup or your travel coffee mug, bring it (even if you don't plan on making your own coffee or tea).

Why, might you ask? Well, because you can just go to your favorite cafe and get your favorite hot drink in your own cup! This is both more sustainable and more cost-effective (they actually charge you for the cup).

4. Don't! Use! Plastic! Bags!

No matter where you are or where you're shopping, please be sure to use a tote bag or any other kind of reusable grocery bag. It's better for the environment, it's easier for you to carry, and you can get one with whatever you want on it! Mine says "You look radishing" and it has a drawing of radishes. Very cute.

Also, if you're buying fresh produce, you can use lighter mesh bags instead of the plastic bags from the produce section!

5. For *that* time of the month

If you're a period-having person, you might want to rethink the way you handle your lunar cycle. On average, people who have periods will throw away 300,000 pounds of menstrual products in their lifetime. This is really really not cool.

I suggest switching from tampons and pads to menstrual cups and cloth pads. While the cups might seem weird at first, trust me — they aren't weird at all. Both cups and cloth pads are easier and longer lasting than your conventional period tools.


While there are a bunch of other tips I could most definitely talk about and rant about and advocate for, I feel like this is a good place to start.

Just be sure to reduce the number of one-time plastics you use and make sure you're cautious of the waste you produce.

Cover Image Credit: Penelope De La Cruz

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What YouTube Says About Our Generation

We can learn a lot from high school vlogs.
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Last week I wrote an article that sought to examine YouTube, not as an entertainment platform, but as a revolutionary and powerful tool, capable of documenting and preserving our generation in ways which no generation previously could.

I wrote:

"The ubiquity of cameras has made it so that our images are being captured constantly whether we realize it or not. And with YouTube and the Internet, we are seamlessly being cataloged into a massive and growing database of humanity ... I think of YouTube as a time capsule. Centuries from now, everyone can look back through YouTube and wholly experience our generation: its sights, sounds, issues, and—most importantly—the individual personalities of, not just its Kings and Queens, but its ordinary people."

With this article, and in subsequent articles, I'd like to elaborate on this concept by exploring and showcasing various content on YouTube. In doing so, I hope I can get some people to look at Youtube through a different lens—one that understands it as a historical tool.

In this article, I'd like to share a type of video I've found much of on YouTube: "day in the life of high school" videos. In these videos, someone goes around with a camera and basically shoots, in documentary style, a full day of high school.

Here's one from 1996:

One of the fascinating things about a video like this is that, when we watch it, we tend to see it in the context of the present. I'll watch the video, but instantly my brain seeks out the differences and similarities between high school in 1996 and in 2016 (when I graduated high school).

Through this video, we see, documented in an unbiased fashion, the lives of ordinary people. And through watching these people, we can also extrapolate further information about that generation. We are ALL a product of our times, whether we realize it or not. Everything posted on YouTube lends some kind of window into the present that it was posted in.

For example, at around 17 minutes into the video above, the cameraman begins to hum the Mission Impossible theme, a movie which came out in May of 1996, right about the time this video was shot. It was a big blockbuster hit and was most definitely on the minds of high schoolers like these. While that might not sound too fascinating right now in 2018, it will be a much more fascinating detail to those studying pop culture history 100 years into the future.

Now take a look at a modern "day of high school" video:

Now, imagine you were somebody in 1996 watching this video today. In just 20 years, we can already see tremendous generational differences. In the 1996 video, people were detached when confronted with a camera; it was something strange to them. In 2018, the digital age has taken over completely. In this video, everyone understands that he is "vlogging," a term that didn't exist in 1996.

In fact, everything about this video screams of our generation: the slang, the music, the fast jump cuts, the concept of a "YouTuber," the dress, the technology, Internet culture, how everyone's plugging their Internet identities (Instagram, SoundCloud, etc.)... the list goes on and on. Going from the 1996 day of high school and then jumping to this one really puts my generation into perspective.

This video is much more polished and edited, and its clearly made with the intention to project oneself to an audience, rather than for purely documentary purposes like the video from 1996 was. It brings to light an unforeseen force working all around us: the rise of a new type of global culture, one that, through social media, is growing larger by the day.

But these are just two videos out of over a billion YouTube videos. Estimated, it would take 60,000 years of non-stop watching to watch every video that is on YouTube right now. That is a LOT of content, and ALL of that is focused on the thoughts, concerns, issues, and realities of THIS generation.

We will leave a footprint unlike any other generation in history; I think its important for all of us to understand that.

Cover Image Credit: YouTube

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