I know for a fact I’m not the only one who had lots of vacation days to use or lose at the end of the year. It’s easy to get into the habit of not having the time to take off a random Friday here and there to make time for yourself, thus creating the perennial vacation day backlog.

It’s easy when you get such a mass grouping of days off, though, to run out of projects and/or motivation to do much aside from catching up on some valued TV time.

As great as it is to spend entire days doing as little as possible, the sinking reality is it won’t last forever. As the final weekend or day of time off came creeping in, I’m sure you felt it too – the lack of wanting to go back to reality.

Growing up, whenever late July or early August came, you knew summer vacation was coming to an end soon. Sure, you’d get to see friends again you hadn’t seen since May. Sure, you’d have some good stories to tell about your break from school. Sure, you’d have another blank slate, so there were things to be excited about going in to the new school year.

I couldn’t imagine having three months off from anything now, but coming back into a routine from a long break or just a long weekend takes some self discipline.

Staying up late and/or sleeping in sounds like a great idea when you have the option, but getting back to a regular schedule takes some discipline. We all know we’ve got a certain rhythm we’re going to have to get into so the sooner we jump in, the better off we are.

That rhythm doesn’t just pertain to the hours we sleep but also the food we eat and our workflow and, mostly importantly, our personal drive.

We’re in that time of year when plenty of people are going to the gym and running the streets for the first time in a really long time, as they resolve to do better this year.

At the same time, there are plenty of people trying out brand new recipes as they’ve resolved to do better at meal time.

January is a time when we pledge to do our best and as hard as this month is to come back into a rhythm, at least it presents a personal challenge to us all.

You may not be as excited about waking up at 4 to lift heavy things and work up a sweat like you were when it was time for back to school shopping. However, you wouldn’t be pushing yourself into that routine if you didn’t want to do it.

You may not be as excited about trading barbecue for broccoli like you were when you got to show off your new lunchbox in elementary school. However, you wouldn’t be adjusting to new tastes if you didn’t want to do it.

There’s something every single day that pushes us. It’s the same thing that makes us not want to take off, causing that backlog on the backend of the year.

No matter your resolution, there are going to be rainy days and family meals that will get you off track but no matter how much time you take off from your routine, find that something that pushes you.

If it’s something dealing with your job that’s pushing you, you may not be able to look in the mirror after four months into a new diet and see a totally different you. Your impact on others through your work may be a completely different story though.

To all the students out there going through such a different kind of year, find your something. After nearly two weeks off of work, I could not imagine going from spring break to the start of a new school year last year not being in class.

With switching from in-class to distance learning from time to time, I’m sure it’s something that could easily get you off track but keep pushing.

Even though playing baseball or just getting home to play your new PS5 may seem like a huge goal right now, there are much bigger days ahead of you. No matter how old you are, your personal drive is what is going to make those days ahead even bigger.

Black-eyed peas and greens can only take you so far towards good luck and bigger bank accounts each year, so do your part to supplement to push towards a big year. All it takes is personal motivation to help.

Ray Van Dusen is the managing editor of the Monroe Journal. He can be reached at ray.vandusen@journalinc.com.

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