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31st Dec 2021

OPINION: New Year’s resolutions – yay or nay?

Katy Thornton

New Year, New Me… you kind of want to slap someone who says this without irony, right? Well, let’s determine whether New Year’s Resolutions are a keeper, or need to go in the bin.

While once a popular part of beginning a new year, resolutions have had a bit of a bad rap as of late. In a world where we reside firmly within the clutches of the wellness industry, it’s no longer enough to wait for January to improve. Instagram has taught us change must happen right now; there’s simply no time to wait! And while this is somewhat true, and you don’t have to wait for a new year, or a new week, or 9am on Monday, to start changing your life, there is nothing inherently wrong with doing this. As someone who can see both sides of the argument, I wonder which side truly has it better.

Pros for Resolutions

  • You set definitive goals in a time where you feel more motivated than normal
  • There’s nothing else to do in January other than feel sad about Christmas being over, and pursue said goals
  • If you set enough, you might actually achieve one or two
  • Writing out goals can provide focus
  • Form of manifestation

Cons for Resolutions

  • There’s an inevitable sense of shame when you cannot fulfil the glorious new goals you have set for yourself
  • Writing down your list of resolutions is a lot more fun than actually pursuing said resolutions (and this is a fact you will come to learn)
  • Idealises the beginning of the year as the only time to start new things
  • It causes a cycle of shame not only within yourself, but for those around you

Overall Verdict

Honestly, if I had to pick a side, it would be on that of resolutions. While we often fail at the goals we set, the point is that we’ve tried. Our old pal Samuel Beckett once said, “Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.” Who are we to disagree with Samuel Beckett??

But in all seriousness, if you like to set goals, if you want to create meaningful change in your life, I see no reason why you shouldn’t set resolutions. They’re no different to setting goals at any other time of the year – they get a bad rap only because of when you set them. If you want to shed the disappointment of 2021, and embrace 2022 with some new objectives, well more power to you. Just please be kind to yourself, and remember, you can always fail better.

Ways to achieve those resolutions

As someone who is an avid resolution setter, I’ve found that the best way to actually achieve your goals is to define them very specifically. Don’t make sweeping statements like: “I’m going to get fitter” or “I’m going to learn to cook.” Break those large goals into pieces, and make every step a goal in itself. If you want to get into shape, break up the year, and set individual goals for each month. Maybe you want to join a gym but it has always scared you. Well, make one resolution to simply join the gym. Then another to go once a week, then twice a week. You’ll take small steps and achieve small goals to get to the finish line. Make your goals measurable so you can track your progress. Last year I vowed to read 50 books in 2021, and so every time I finished a novel, I wrote it down, and it was easy to see how I was doing (I did make it to 50 books btw, one of the few resolutions I’ve managed to achieve in my life).

And if resolutions really just aren’t your thing, for whatever reason, that’s fine too. I think one of the biggest lessons we should take into 2022 is to just live and let live. Don’t make someone feel stupid for setting resolutions. Don’t make someone feel down for not setting resolutions. Allow people to do what makes them happy. We’re all just trying to get by the best way we know how.

Header image via ShutterstockĀ 

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