Every December the question arises: What will your New Year’s Resolution be? There are the typical ones, such as exercising regularly, being kinder to siblings, and getting better grades. Of course, these issues do not just bother us at the end of the year. We feel guilt for them all year round. Why do we decide to change them on January 1? Is it really any different than any other day?
The tradition of making a New Year’s Resolution is senseless for a few reasons. The primary reason is that the new year is no different than the old year. While the idealists of the world may view 2018 as a fresh start or an opportunity for change, the truth is that this viewpoint gets old very quickly. One day is not enough to completely alter your personality to be more fit or kinder. Within three days, you will realize that you are no different than you were in 2017 and your “fresh start” will start to seem unrealistic.
This may sound cynical, but it is actually not. By realizing that you cannot expect a major lifestyle change in just one day, you prevent the inevitable failure of your resolution. After all, how many of your past New Year’s Resolutions have you actually stuck with past January?
In fact, by realizing the truth about New Year’s Resolutions, you are making self-improvement easier. Once you realize that improving yourself or making a major lifestyle change is a process, you will be much more likely to succeed at it. It takes the pressure off of you and makes self-improvement more enjoyable and less of a chore.
For example, if someone makes his New Year’s Resolution to go to the gym everyday, January 1st will come around and he will excitedly sign up for a gym membership. “New year, new me,” will be his mantra as he walks into the gym on January 2 and 3. By January 4, though, he will start to realize that he is the same person who does not enjoy exercising as he was in 2017 and become discouraged. He will put pressure on himself to stick to his resolution, and going to the gym will become a daily chore. Eventually, he will stop going and discontinue his membership.
However, if someone realizes that he should be exercising more regularly and comes to terms with it over a few weeks, he will be more open and mentally prepared to go to the gym everyday. He will start off slow, going a few days a week and increasing that number every once in a while. There will be no pressure for him to continue and he will realize that he is going to the gym for himself, not to keep some arbitrary resolution. He will enjoy going to the gym more and stick to it.
Furthermore, New Year’s Resolutions do us more harm than good because they allow us to postpone our own improvement. When a girl fights with her brother in the beginning of December, she will tell herself that it will just be a resolution of hers in the new year to be nicer to him. In reality, she should try to be nicer to him immediately. The concept of New Year’s Resolutions allows us to neglect our responsibility to be better.
If you haven’t yet thought of your resolution yet this January, do not fret. Now is your chance to consider what you want to improve about yourself and do it on your own time without the pressure of sticking to it. Think of whatever you choose as less of a resolution and more of a progression.
By: Kaitlyn Brown’19, Co-Executive-Junior Editor-in-Chief