With 2016 ending in just a few short days, it’s important to reflect on this past year. Not just to make a cheesy list of New Year’s resolutions, but to give ourselves a chance to acknowledge which things in the last 365 days were awesome and which things were not so awesome. For me, this last year was filled with plenty of things to be thankful for, such as a great new school, empowering new friends, and a fun new life. However, in the midst of all of this great freshness, I’ve spent more time being sad than happy. While much of this sadness stems from opinions and actions of others, I blame no one but myself. Why? Because I am the only person that can choose how I react to things, and I chose wrong.

Due to a combination of bad movies, petty television, and objectifying advertisements, society’s main function in our current world is to point fingers. We tell people how to look, how to talk, and how to behave by making the accepted social norm extremely clear. Stereotypes are concisely defined and it’s not difficult to figure out what stereotype we fit into. Because of this, so many of us are left feeling like we are not enough because we don’t perfectly fit into the mold that society tells us we identify with. With that being said, at the end of every year, we create a new set of goals to better ourselves in the New Year. Unfortunately, many of these goals are not motivated by self-betterment, but rather by societal acceptance. The most common New Year’s resolution is always to be skinny. Why? Because we feel like our weight is the easiest, most controllable way to reach conformity.

This year, my New Year’s resolution is not to be skinny. It’s to be confident.

Too much of our current generation is consumed with the opinions of others and I personally let what other people think of me matter way too much. In 2017, be you. Don’t let a magazine tell you how to look. Don’t let a TV show tell you what to wear. And definitely don’t let a boy tell you how to act.

Too many times do we let warped images of women become what we idolize. We set our phone backgrounds to starving models to help shame ourselves every time we have dessert because we feel like if we don’t look like these women, we failed. Take a step back and realize that beautiful is not defined by the amount of fat you can squeeze off your sides, how tan your skin is in December, or your bra size. Picture the most amazing girl you know...now list all of her best qualities. Are all of those qualities physical things like her waistline or her thigh gap? Absolutely not. They’re the way she can turn any situation into a party and make everyone laugh, the dorky jokes she tells, and the way she is there for you when nobody else is. THAT is beautiful and THAT is attainable. Be fun, be carefree, and be yourself. Nothing is better.

With what’s considered popular changing every day, it’s hard for us to ever be content with ourselves. We set goals based on current fads, and when they change, we’re left feeling empty, quickly scrambling to adapt and readjust what we want. We let boys tell us what type of girls are attractive, and we try to adjust our personalities and appearances to fit their description. But why? Is it for acceptance? For popularity? Probably. Stop changing who you are to please others because one day you will meet the person that loves you as you are, and you will wonder why you spent so much time trying to change that.

In 2017, fearlessly be you. Show your true personality and share your real dreams. Live each day not concerned with other people trying to tear you down, but rather with building yourself up. Love yourself and all you are because I promise you, nothing is more fulfilling than a little confidence.

Happy New Year!