New Year’s resolutions: Pointless or powerful?
THEY ARE A SETUP FOR FAILURE
by Padideh Aghanoury
On Jan. 2 of every year, without fail, gym memberships skyrocket as the start of a new year inspires many to take on new challenges. People who tend to set lofty, and even perhaps downright impossible, expectations for themselves will struggle to meet those goals because they are only human. Yet many people will internalize these failures and blame themselves for “being weak” when in reality, New Year’s resolutions are the problem.
Scrolling through a Facebook news feed, one will see posts that declare goals for healthier eating, getting up at 6 a.m. to hit the gym, and goals relating to academics, personal finance, and traveling. But rarely do people set New Year’s resolutions like, “be a better listener” or “tell my parents I love them more often,” because those aren’t glamorous challenges like cutting out carbs or hiring a personal trainer. There is no sculpted figure that comes as a result of practicing empathy and kindness.
The dead of winter is not really a conducive time to feel a sudden rush of enthusiasm for self-improvement. Nothing about Jan. 1 is remarkable in any way; school is still out, every place is closed, and the landscape is as snowy and frigid as ever. Just proclaiming that Jan. 1 is the day to kick off the New Year right isn’t enough motivation to transform your average person into a hyper-efficient self-improving beast. People just set themselves up for failure when they make resolutions.
Resolutions are hard to keep because of their timing, but also because creating resolutions means dwelling on one’s flaws and trying to erase those flaws. When that doesn’t succeed, one may very well feel discouraged and trapped by these so-called flaws. But rather than striving for impossible perfection, maybe take a step back and evaluate whether these flaws are actually flaws, or just human characteristics that make each individual person unique in their own way.
THEY BRING OUT PEOPLE’S BEST
by Shannon Robinson
With each new year comes new changes and new possibilities, so why not have a New Year’s resolution? Whether it be a seemingly small goal, like trying to exercise a little more each day, or something major, like trying to complete an international-distance triathlon, New Year’s resolutions encourage taking on new challenges. Although some might turn their noses up in disdain at the sudden wave of social media posts that flood feeds on Jan. 2, New Year’s resolutions should be encouraged instead of ignored.
Resolutions empower individuals to become the bringers of their own personal change. With the addition of social media as an outlet for individuals to post their progress toward their New Year’s resolution, the craving for change becomes contagious. It is difficult to resist having a resolution when nearly everyone is making some form of a proclamation for change to kickstart the year. The beauty of the New Year’s resolution is how easily it can be spread and shared as a means for everyone to have a platform for their own personal progress.
Although setting a goal so suddenly in the beginning of the year, when the weather can be dark, dreary, and cold is a challenge, having a New Year’s resolution can invite energy and positivity to take on each day. Waking up and getting out of bed can be hard sometimes, but a New Year’s resolution creates a feeling of obligation toward the day; people dust themselves off and heave themselves out from under the blanket to face the day and meet their New Year goal. Even a simple resolution, like going on a 30-minute walk a day or making a point to try something new outside every week, creates something to look forward to throughout the year.
New Year’s resolutions are exciting and encourage individuals to ring in the new year with challenges that help develop personal growth and confidence in all endeavors.