As a self-diagnosed procrastinator, New Year’s resolutions have never been my forte. On Jan. 1, any promise I make to myself to eat healthier, study, or sleep more is quickly overridden by some flimsy excuse after a couple of weeks. Still, it’s comforting to know that I’m not the only one. The majority of people who set resolutions for the New Year fail to achieve them, and usually give up within the first month or so. I still, however, believe in measurable goals and promising results.

A bad habit is like a hiccup, and the best way to cure a hiccup, (according to every member of my extended family), is with a surprise. The typical hiccup cures (i.e. drinking water upside down or having your friends jump scare you) were devised to “surprise” the body, and usually yield positive results. I apply this same logic to my bad habits. Don’t wait until Jan. 1 to start improving. Instead, start the moment you identify a negative behavioral trend, and surprise yourself. Ten cups of coffee a day will most likely be detrimental to your health, so leave the “I’ll start on Mondays” behind, and start starting.

Easier said than done, right? You are entirely correct. Commitment is hard, but it’s also necessary, and that’s why you start small. My goal for the school year was to avoid senioritis at all costs, so I started by buying a planner. Instead of cracking it open on the first day of school and improvising my way through the first quarter, I broke it in early, recording my summer work, travel dates, and logging important events. Not only did I have a record of all the cool things I did over the summer, but I had made a habit of organizing my tasks before the bell rang on the first day of senior year. As I both literally and figuratively stumble through my final year of high school, I have admittedly become far more reluctant to complete assignments, but thanks to this new habit, I get them done.

My goal isn’t to discourage those who committed to resolutions this year. In fact, I am here to cheer you on, but if you waited until January to start pursuing your aim, then I am also here to warn you. Stick to your goal, and if you lose track, start over. New Year’s is a time for self-reflection, but so is the rest of 2020. It’s never too early (or too late) to achieve something. You might surprise yourself.

Niamh McCarthy is a senior at Wilton High School.

She shares this column with three colleagues.