As we settle into the first month of the new year and we begin to adjust to typing “2015” instead of “2014” on our MLA headings, it has also come time to assess those New Year’s resolutions.
Let’s begin with a poll.
Raise your hands (or do so mentally if you’d like to avoid unease in a social setting) if you’ve been keeping up with the resolutions you woke up to on New Year’s day. How many of you have cut back on that junk food? Gone to the gym? Stopped procrastinating? Started volunteering? …most of you?
Now think again, by the end of this year, incorporating past experiences and insight, will you still have your hand up?
If your answer is yes, congratulations! You are one of the 8 percent who do so (according to research by the University of Scranton). Now you can go on with your life, being the successful, independent person you are, making everyone turn green with jealousy. For the other staggering 92 percent of us, however, things aren’t as blissful. Is this caused by a lack of self-motivation? Laziness? Or, should we blame the impracticality of a New Year’s resolution itself?
I’d like to believe in the last.
What is a resolution? Sticking to the
dictionary definition, it is the “firm decision to not do or to do something,” which, by itself, is unrealistic enough. Everything needs a little easing into! I believe if you just sent a stone cold statement down and force yourself to follow it, you’re not going to get anywhere. This brings us to the first point — set goals instead of resolutions.
Want to eat healthier? (I know I do). None of us are lacking in the audacity to set up such a resolution. However, many of us are lacking in the commitment — especially to something so vague. Instead, try goal-setting. Give yourself something more tangible, for instance “eat at least one type of vegetable per meal” or “eat out only once a week”. These would be a much better kick-start to a
Setting goals to achieve things in smaller increments is like having a resolution, but in more realistic and easy-to-swallow capsules.
Need another reason to reconsider New Year’s resolutions? The fact that they are so overrated. If you really have something you’d like to achieve, chances are, this something has been lurking around in your mind long before New Year’s day.
But due to the complete cliché of New Year’s resolutions, you have decided to postpone beginning to take action until the new year came along. Say, maybe at around November of the previous year, you decided that it would be extremely beneficial to you if you began reading more novels.
However, you told yourself, “nah, it’s already November. I’ll start reading in the new year. Heck, it’ll be one of my resolutions! Surely I can’t argue with a good resolution!”
My point is, why bother waiting? If there really is something you want to achieve or work towards, why wait until New Year’s day? It is only your time that you are wasting away! New Year’s day is just a specific day our ancestors pinpointed to be the first 24 hours of Earth’s newest revolution around the Sun.
Is it so special that starting on another day really interferes with you accomplishing all your goals? The answer is discernibly “no.” Therefore, whatever goals and ambitions you have, start working towards them now! No matter if it’s New Year’s Eve or the middle of July, dates don’t matter; what you do on them is what matters.
The last reason to disregard New Year’s resolutions in generally is the concept of “new year, new me.” What is so wrong with the me from last year? Do I really have to become a different person just to better myself? The new year isn’t a “second chance” at something, and it certainly does not give you a clean slate.
What you’ve done before, good or bad, is what constructs you as a human. Making improved choices does not mean becoming a whole “new” person altogether.
Therefore having “resolutions” shouldn’t
be used as an excuse to wipe away all that’s been done in the past year.
I feel like I should make a disclaimer. I am not saying that I hate the whole concept of having resolutions, and I am not calling people who do have them lame.
But next New Year’s Eve, before you open up that brand new notebook and start writing down all those brand new resolutions with that brand new pen, keep some things in mind…
Don’t let the whole notion of having a resolution blind you from finding and following a real path to self improvement.