New Year’s resolutions are doomed from the start

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The six days after Christmas are filled with thoughts of the perfect New Year’s Eve celebration. 

It’s also a time when we feel pressure to consider New Year’s resolutions—lifestyle changes that’ll ultimately improve our success. Saving to go on a vacation abroad, getting the body of your dreams, and learning a new skill are all common goals.

The new year’s resolution approach to self-improvement is unrealistic and sets us up to fail.

Research shows 45 per cent of Americans make new year’s resolutions, but only a meager eight per cent succeed in making them a reality. One reason for this low success rate may be that taking time off work during the holiday season gives us the gift of free time—a luxury most working adults aren’t afforded year-round.

Unfilled time enables people to think about their lives: what they like, what they don’t like, and most prominently, what they want to change. 

When you’re not in your regular routine, it’s easier to underestimate the time and energy necessary to meet overly ambitious goals—another key reason why New Year’s is the wrong time to decide to make a total 180 in the coming year.

The holidays are the worst time to inaugurate a considerable lifestyle change. They should be a time to relax and spend time with loved ones. If you have thoughts about how to improve your life, setting shorter term goals might be more realistic than grand resolutions. 

Unfortunately, resolutions are often associated with an all-or-nothing mentality, and this idea of perfection is the root of failure.

When planning a resolution, it’s crucial to remember mistakes are inevitable. When we forget our limitations, it’s easy to end up back at square one—or worse off than we started. 

Striving for perfection is toxic; it’s unfeasible and forces us to only focus on the future. Focusing on your future isn’t necessarily bad, but it becomes harmful when it means taking the present for granted.

If your goal to is to work out more after not going to the gym for three years, then you’re allowed to celebrate the first day you decide to get up and go. 

The expression ‘seize the day’ represents the spirit of successful goal-making. Live in the moment and take life one day at a time. If your life looks even a bit better than it was at the beginning of the year, you’ve succeeded. 

From January to December, we never know what challenges life will throw at us or how things will fall into place. It’s essential to focus on personal progress and avoid planning too far in advance at the expense of enjoying the present. 

We all need goals, but rushing to make sweeping, long-term resolutions before the clock strikes twelve is the best way to sabotage yourself. 

In 2023, let success be measured by progress, not by perfect outcomes.

 

Skylar is a second-year politics student and one of The Journal’s Assistant News Editors.

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