New Year, But It’s Still the Same You
By Nicole Cobar
The new year has become synonymous with New Year’s Resolutions. Getting fit, saving money, and studying more are just a few of the countless resolutions many people set at the beginning of the year. All over social media, I saw many people proclaim what they were trying to accomplish in 2019. Scrolling through Twitter, seeing so many people inspired, trying to improve their lives and themselves, was heartwarming, and it almost made me set resolutions. Then, I remembered that it would be pointless because most resolutions fail.
Only about 8% of people achieve their New Year’s resolutions, according to Forbes. Many people seem confused by this. So much so, that Psychology Today posted a paper explaining, “The Science of Why New Year’s Resolutions Don’t Work,” blaming our brain and habits for why 92% of people fail at keeping their resolutions. While that is true, I feel like there is a more important reason why New Year’s resolutions fail: New Year’s resolutions are designed to fail.
People create New Year’s resolutions, not from a deep urge to change, but from the excitement of the New Year. You see your friends create New Year’s resolutions, all over your social media feed is tons of motivational content, and you start to feel empowered. At that moment, you did not create a goal because you wanted to change, but because everyone else did. You just jumped on the bandwagon.
But, how could you not, since there is so much talk about the new year, with a new beginning, and it makes sense to start working toward your goals at the start of the new year. It would make calculating progress simple, and, it just sounds official to begin on the first of the new year. That mentality of starting at the beginning is a dangerous mindset most of us have. We will start our diet on Monday, or try to improve our grades next semester. But, when those times come, we do not follow through with our goal. It is the same with New Year’s resolutions. It may be a new beginning, but you still have the same habits, lifestyle, and obstacles. There is nothing significant about the first of the year that is going to make it easier to achieve your goals. When someone sets New Year’s resolutions, they are setting them because the idea of the new year motivated them. Once the motivation fades and the new year is no longer new, most people lose the desire to achieve their goal.
New Year’s resolutions are an outdated trend that makes people feel like it is now or never to achieve their dreams. It is a new year, so a new beginning and the perfect time to execute those goals. When people miss that perfect time, it can stop them from achieving those goals, and cause further procrastination (“I’ll try again next year.”).
The best thing about New Year’s resolutions is that they highlight things that people are unhappy about in their lives. Goals and resolutions are the way to fix those things. However, the overall bandwaggon-y nature of New Year’s resolutions is unproductive, with an 8% success rate. Having goals is great because it means you know what you want to improve about yourself. New Year’s resolutions are not the way to do it. We all should work on our goals, regardless of what time of year it is. We should also set goals more intentionally, with a solid plan of action, and not out of pure New Year excitement.
So, if you are reading this, and you have already broken your New Year’s resolutions: it is okay. Just jump back on the horse, because if there is something you want to improve in your life, you should do it, no matter the date on the calendar.
My philosophy on goals is simple: every day with every choice we make is a chance to act on our goals. Every day, we have the opportunity to take a step in the right direction: improving who we are and accomplishing our goals. We should make every chance count. With goals, changing who we are, creating better lives, I think there is no time like the present. I think if you want to become a better you, there is no reason to wait for a New Year.