With each new year comes new aspirations, hopes, and dreams of a brighter future. People create resolutions for themselves in order to make the next year look more promising than the previous. We love a fresh start and the new year seems to be the perfect time for one. While I don’t condemn this tradition, I am not one of those people.
1. I’m realistic (when the resolution is too specific).
Common resolution: I will go to the gym four days a week for an hour each time.
I know myself well. I’m not going to go to the gym for an entire year consistently. I have weeks that are busier than others, I get sick, I travel, and that’s a big promise to keep.
2. I’m honest with myself (when the resolution is too general).
Common resolution: I will eat healthier.
What does that even mean? I have to first think of my definition of healthy and I think that can be relative to how I am feeling that day. I can easily convince myself that chocolate is healthy on days where I am feeling down: It’s healing my emotional instability. Not only can I twist things to work in my favor, but if I am the only one holding myself accountable, how honest can I be? When a resolution is generalized, it leaves too much wiggle room. I believe this is what leads many people to fail so quickly in keeping their resolutions. Generalizing goals allows for excuses and delay tactics.
3. I dislike failure.
Like most people, I dislike failure. I know that if I were to set a resolution, then I would make it incredibly specific. After all, specificity is the best way to keep a promise. However, I would then feel the need to follow my resolution to a T. I would put an incredible amount of pressure on myself to go to the gym four days a week, or call my mother every Sunday, to the point of making myself unhappy. The point of a resolution is to improve oneself. But one area of improvement shouldn’t cause another area to deteriorate. Too much stress from self-induced pressure can lower one’s well-being and in the end, the resolution will just result in a worsened sense of self. At the same time, if someone is unable to follow through with their resolution, they will feel like a failure. I try to set myself up for success. This doesn’t mean avoiding challenges, but being self-aware of my own capabilities.
4. I don’t believe in changing once a year.
I believe that self-improvement should be a continuous process. I don’t think that people should wait until a new year has come around to make changes. Plus, when does the resolution end? How do you know when it’s okay to stop?
While I don’t make resolutions, I live by the idea of being the best version of myself year-round. Sure, there are days where I let myself go, but I think it’s good to have a healthy balance. I do what I know will make me happy, and being someone who puts enough pressure on myself to improve as it is, deciding to add something else to the equation is too much.
I think some people may need to make resolutions in order for any change to begin. But it’s important to be self-aware, honest and realistic in order to avoid failure. Then work at making your resolutions actual habits.