New Year’s Resolutions – Yay or Nay?

Happy New Year! I hope you all enjoyed the holidays and got to spend some quality time with your loved ones this festive season, whether you celebrated Christmas or not.

Did you see the New Year’s fireworks display in London? It was smokin’. Quite literally – plumes of smoke and pollution everywhere, obscuring all the cameras and making their way into those poor onlookers’ lungs. Did you see Singapore’s firework and drone display? It was magnificent. Singapore is that student who gets to all their lectures early and takes the best notes, and London is the one who slept in yet again, and didn’t quite get the memo. Again. I wonder what Greta will have to say about this. Though I think my tweet pretty much sums up what I thought of this year’s display:

Christmas has been and gone, and we’ve dipped our tippy toes into 2020. Cue everyone asking if you have any New Year’s resolutions and what they are. Cue all the blog posts and instagram photos captioned “new year, new me”. Cue all the new gym memberships and subscriptions to hobby magazines. You get what I’m saying.

Personally, I’m not a fan of New Year’s resolutions.  I understand the appeal of restarting the clock every year and starting afresh. I get it. It’s a chance to commit to starting over, put the past in the past and renew your general zest for life. Like a library book. With the same concepts of time constraints, dusting off old covers and everything revolving around a date. Nah, new year’s resolutions aren’t for me.

Why procrastinate?

picture of a lazy bear, procrastination

Here’s the thing. If you want to start something, why not start it now? Why does the 1st of January (or whenever the new year starts in your calendar) have to be the magical date to do it? It’s not as if a specific date will grant you special powers that make it easier for you to achieve your New Year’s resolutions. It’s the same as any other day in the calendar year. Except maybe having the day off work. Always wanted to start your own business from home? Do it now. Alway wanted to master the perfect pancake? Get practising today.

Why wait? New year’s resolutions essentially come with a built-in procrastination clause. It involves consciously delaying the start of something – for no other reason than today isn’t New Year’s Day. Whilst waiting for that special date to arrive, something else may come up. Life might throw you an unfortunate curveball in that time and you’ll have no other choice but to put everything else on hold and deal with it. And that resolution will get forgotten about as the year goes on – and resurface at the beginning of next year. Don’t give it time to fester and allow your drive to fade. Do it now.

Here’s an ironic one – waiting till New Year’s Day to stop your procrastination habit.

Expectation vs. reality

expectations, picture of cat waiting for plant to grow

It’s a lot of pressure to start the new year with a list of expectations. Remember those expectation vs. reality memes we know and love? New year’s resolutions aren’t so different. More often than not, the novelty of the new year fizzles out by the end of January and so does our motivation to stick to those resolutions. Before we know it, we’re at the end of the year and it’s time to go into the following new year… with the same resolutions as the previous year. We’re already starting out with a sense of guilt and failure that these resolutions never really get ticked off. They just roll over year after year – much like I do after I’ve eaten too much on Christmas Day. Or any other day.

It’s also unrealistic to commit to a list of set goals for the year. What if we have an experience that makes us realise that we want something else in life? What if we meet people who show us a different perspective and we decide that the goals we set are no longer the best thing for us? What if we run into unfortunate circumstances and life pulls us in a different direction away from those goals we set at the beginning of the year? The list of what-ifs is endless.

What if you don’t set yourself any New Year’s resolutions?

Here’s another what if. What if you just… don’t have any resolutions this year? What if you simply committed to throwing yourself into life with an open, positive mindset this year? What would happen if you simply embraced whatever life throws at you from now on, and just ran with whatever ideas and passions you discover over the course of the year?

As for those specific things you wanted to accomplish, what if you set out to achieve them by focusing on your plan, rather than your goal? Put your time and energy into fitness by finding workout classes you genuinely enjoy and researching a sustainable diet, instead of frustrating yourself with why the numbers on the scales take so long to drop, no matter how many kale smoothies you drink. Commit to enjoying the scenic route to get to your goals, and the journey will be enjoyable and much more sustainable. The more you enjoy it, the more you’ll stick with it. That dopamine rush you get from that sense of reward will keep you coming back for more. Soon enough, you’ll find yourself well on the way to your destination.

And maybe, you’ll even go beyond and push yourself to new heights – because you want to, not because you should.

– J

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Disclaimer: All images used in this post were obtained from Pixabay and edited on Canva for thenellybean.

9 Comments on “New Year’s Resolutions – Yay or Nay?”

  1. I love this – there’s always so much pressure on people to make resolutions every year but I think we need to do things for ourselves and not because we think we should!

  2. I say yay, but with no pressure. I felt like resolutions hold so much pressure because so many people around those who make resolutions don’t support or believe in them. I’ve been and sometimes still am one of those people that can be condescending about new years resolutions. But in the end, if Jan 1 is just another day, then it’s just as good a day as any other to make yourself a promise. No need to exclude it simply because the world has gotten disillusioned over it.
    I also think the characteristics of a typical resolution add to the pressure. Most of it involves promises to lose weight or spend less, when the options are endless. I have a friend who’s family did a resolution of “do one nice thing for someone a day.”
    Or at least the above thoughts are what led me to be a little bit more forgiving about new years resolutions and come to friendly terms with it. 🙂

    1. Thank you for sharing, this is a lovely way to look at it all. I like the resolution of doing one nice thing for someone every day, it would be wonderful if we could all implement that into our lives, think how far and wide the good deeds would spread. Thanks for commenting!

  3. Love this post!! There’s always so much pressure to have goals and resolutions for the New Year – personally I always set myself resolutions at New Year but never commit to them. I think it’s best trying to achieve things throughout the year and set goals regularly rather than once in the year!

    Holly x

Comments and stories welcome!