I have fond memories of New Year’s Eve spanning all of the way back to elementary school. I remember being a little girl, desperately struggling (and usually failing) to stay awake before the clock struck 12 on December 31 so that I could be a part of the magic. Year after year I would settle down on the couch, eagerly counting down the last few moments of the year, waiting for that glittering ball of promise to drop and signal a new beginning.
I spent countless years making resolutions, empowered by the notion that a change in the year was like an automatic reset button, providing me with a clean slate and endless opportunity. The message was that the new year was the perfect chance for a new you, and I was a firm believer.
As I have gotten older, however, I have realized something that my younger self was oblivious to: New Year’s Eve is not magic. The change of the calendar does not hold any special power, does not make personal change any easier nor likelier. Despite this, millions of people continue to use the new year as a first step in their journey of self improvement. New Year’s resolutions have become a staple tradition, a tradition that, in my opinion, is both overrated and unnecessary.
The theory of making resolutions before the start of each year is great. New Year’s resolutions are largely about self improvement. People vow to lose weight, exercise more, quit smoking, and make a whole bunch of other promises to better themselves and their ways of life. I am not an opponent of self improvement. Aspiring to be the best version of yourself that you can possibly be is admirable and something that everybody should strive for.
In fact, my main quibble with making New Year’s resolutions is that the whole process detracts from the idea of self improvement. Bettering oneself should be a long and well thought out process that people take seriously and work for year round. Instead, New Year’s has turned personal growth into a frivolous fad that never really works out for anyone in the end.
If people took the time throughout the year to set achievable goals for themselves rather than waiting for New Year’s Eve to decide they want to make drastic life changes, the success rate would probably be a whole lot higher than eight percent .
Another problem with New Year’s resolutions is the whole timing aspect. One thing people seem to not understand is that change is not easy. Change is something you have to work hard for, something that takes effort and determination.
If you want to make a positive change in your lifestyle, you have to be ready for it.
This is partially why New Year’s resolutions never seem to work out. Rather than listening to their internal clocks, people for themselves conform to society’s schedule. This most often results in failed resolutions and crushed spirits when people realize that they weren’t actually prepared to give up junk food for the rest of their lives. New Year’s resolutions only work when people are actually ready to change, and for most people that is not January 1st. Instead, people should focus on taking slow steps towards self improvement on their own agendas.
Finally, New Year’s resolutions are most often centered around negativity. People tend to focus on the flaws that they perceive in themselves, pointing out everything that they believe is wrong and deciding that they need to change. This is not always a poor way to go about things, such as with resolving to put an end to dangerous habits such as smoking.
However, there are many people who make resolutions aimed at changing something about themselves to conform to society’s ideals, such as losing weight when they are already healthy or going out more because they do not want to be seen as introverted. Not only do resolutions such as these cause people to focus on negative thoughts, failing to keep these resolutions can be extremely detrimental to a person’s mental and even physical health.
New Year’s should be about positivity and the excitement of yet another year full of new experiences, relationships, and opportunities. Rather than focusing on resolutions, people should be focusing on simply enjoying the year and living each day to its full extent. If there is something you don’t like about yourself or about your life, fix it.
Don’t wait until December 31 to roll around to make huge plans that you won’t keep. Work on bettering yourself each day, a little bit at a time.
Then, when it comes time to welcome the new year you will be able to look back and feel a sense of satisfaction rather than failure.