I've tried–and failed–to keep a New Year's resolution for as long as I can remember. Make my bed everyday? No. Join a new club at school? No. Stop swearing? Hell no.

It's pretty safe to say that I'm a commitment-phobe when it comes to changing myself. I'll be the first to say that I hate change! It's always been easier to lay low and roll with the punches. But I swear that 2017 will be different.

2016 was a rough year for all involved. Whether it was the election, or the deaths of so many beloved celebrities, or even finals, it seemed like no one was taking any time for themselves–myself included.

I've always been as open and candid as possible about what's not so peachy keen in my life, be it my struggles with anxiety or my eating disorder. I talk about my life so much so that I can try to help as many people as I can. If I tell my stories, then maybe it'll give someone else the courage to talk about their story.

But, as much as I love that my friends feel comfortable coming to me with their issues, it can be exhausting. While I'm always ready to help friends, I can feel myself hiding my own issues to try and solve my friends' problems first.

At times, it's like I was back to square one with my personal demons. I was having constant anxiety attacks and chest pain, and I was having intrusive thoughts about every piece of food I put in my mouth. Even over Christmas break, I couldn't seem to get away from the constant fear and sadness.

I was caught between wanting to be a good friend, and wanting to achieve my own personal happiness. So I made a decision not to deal with it anymore.

And that led me to my New Year's Resolution: I would care less about what other people think. That didn't mean I had to completely drop my friends and stop helping them, it would just mean that I had to make the conscious decision to put myself first.

fish, water
Shannon Carney

I get that this sounds harsh, and maybe even a little rude. No one wants to hear that someone doesn't care about what they think. But, to be honest, I think the "rude" language is what's going to push me to keep this resolution. It's a little tough love that I hope goes a long way.

Obviously, like any resolution, I can't do this overnight, but I'm already seeing changes for the better. When I get too stressed out with a conversation with a friend, I find an excuse to take a break. If I go for a second plate at dinner, I remind myself that no one is judging me for fueling my body. And if they are, I clearly don't need them in my life.

2016 will be remembered as a year that tried everyone's patience and forced people to lean on each other more than ever. We won't ever get to a point where empathy is unnecessary, but in 2017, we should practice a little more "self-empathy."

Listen to what you need and care a little less about how others are telling you to live your life. Trust me, I'm not even one month into my New Year's resolution and caring less about others is making me care about myself a whole lot more.