New Years Resolutions Can Feel Like Fraternity Sanctions

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“Take this opportunity! – Learn this skill! – Improve by this much!” New Years Resolutions can feel like fraternity sanctions – they’re measured, sometimes unbearable, and they don’t often change one’s behavior.

My friends who lift love to share things like this:


Perhaps, given the number of schools banning fraternity/sorority communities as a whole until student vices for sex, alcohol and hazing can be addressed, I should start sharing this one:

Fitting, right?

In all seriousness, I’ve revisited the idea of resolutions. I’m normally not too fond of them, but for 2018 I have some simple goals. They are to end 2018:

  • With Better Health (physical, mental, etc.)
  • With Better Wealth (money, culture, knowledge etc.)
  • Focused on Friendship

In keeping them simple I can try a myriad of tactics and techniques to make them happen, and I’m fairly certain I’ll simply hold on to these resolutions in subsequent years.

Fraternity sanctions too, if they are focused on changing behavior, might as well simply monitor progress over an extended period of time. Behavior doesn’t truly change after a few weeks or a month or a semester of zero activity. It is a constant work of progress, and slip ups are no reason to call it quits. This is why fraternity sanctions are so often ineffective – they equate one activity with one result.

Going to the gym is one way for someone to improve their health, but it doesn’t fit everyone’s lifestyle. I’ve taken to hiking both as a means to improve my endurance but also to get away from people and work. That doesn’t happen as effectively at a gym.

So perhaps our sanctions should be less of a checklist and more of an opportunity for students to demonstrate how they can improve their behavior. Not only could it result in new ways to address old issues, but it’d give students a chance to lead, and treats them less like convicts and more appropriately like humans we’d like to be “better.”

My resolutions are inspired by my 2017, during which I changed jobs, ran for my fraternity’s grand council, conducted my first unscientific cultural experiment and overcame some anxiety-driven insecurities.

Aside from those personal goals, my resolutions for are simple. Expect:

  • One or more podcast series
  • A focus on fraternity activism & constructive criticisms
  • Swag! Swag! Swag!

I wish anyone who is reading this or has read an impactful 2018.

Thank you for paying attention to this little blog. Look out for updates to the Fraternity Man Reading List on January 1, 2018, including a new Book of the Year.

Share your fraternity/sorority-related resolutions with the contact form below. Do you hope to be a greater fraternity activist? Is there something specific within your organization or community that you’d like to change? Do you want to become a better fraternity man/sorority woman in a certain way this year?

I’d be happy to help how I can. If I can’t, I’ll still send you some promotional stickers ;).