Let’s talk about New Year’s resolutions

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Kate McCartney

Most New Year’s resolutions are unrealistic and fail by early February.

Kate McCartney, Staff Writer

January 1 marks the beginning of a new year and new resolutions for nearly 50% of U.S. adults (Nuvance Health). This widespread annual practice poses the question: How does making resolutions realistically help you, given that 80% of them fail by early February (U.S. News & World Report)?

New Year’s resolutions are essentially positive and harmless in theory. They promote beneficial habits like healthy eating, working out consistently and creating a morning routine. However, resolutions are based on the idea that something about you needs to change because the year is changing, which can produce feelings of failure and self-doubt. Especially coming off of a year as difficult as 2020, many of our emotions have been all over the place. We all have things we could improve about ourselves, but the pressure of the all-or-nothing mentality that resolutions create can be harmful. Don’t get me wrong, for some people New Year’s resolutions are a remarkable tool that allows them to untap personal potential and boost self esteem, however, it’s a 20% minority

A better tool may be goal setting, a very similar process to setting resolutions, but may not seem as daunting and negative. Goals focus on a desired result and how to get there, rather than a firm decision to do or not to do something. As people, we are constantly growing and changing; a 2021 resolution you set for yourself January 1 may not still be relevant December 31. Breaking our ambitions down into yearly, monthly, weekly and even daily goals can spur feelings of confidence and productivity. 

Whether you love New Year’s resolutions or despise them, all that matters is finding what works for your approach to bettering yourself. I think it’s safe to say 2020 was tiring for all of us, and it’s okay if you feel like all that you did was survive; I know I do! It is key to remind ourselves that rest days are just as important as ‘productive’ ones, and you don’t have to feel like altering yourself for the sake of tradition. Let’s make 2021 the year we start loving and taking better care of ourselves, not putting pressure to change everything about us just because it’s January.