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Are New Year’s resolutions the best thing for 2022?
A realistic look into why we should stop setting ourselves up for failure.
December 21, 2021
Next year, I’m finally getting my life back on track. I’m going to lose “x” number of pounds, stop procrastinating, start eating healthier, and cut out all the distractions. Next year, I’ll be successful, we tell ourselves with each passing year, but for some reason, “next year” never comes. An estimated 8% of all Americans actually follow up on their New Year’s resolutions. Aside from these select, devoted individuals, the rest of us, for some reason, continue to make these grand vows of commitment to ourselves that quickly fizzle out once the sparkly promise of a “New Year” dulls.
The average American takes just thirty-two days to break their resolutions, but most stop well before then. If the majority of us, besides that committed “8%,” never benefit from making these resolutions, why do we continue to beat this dead horse with a stick each year? It could be something to do with America’s love of tradition, the promise of success, and false hope. On paper, the idea of a “fresh start” is, admittedly, very appealing. It’s a small thing to do to provide a little light at the end of a long year and provide some hope for the upcoming future. After the absolute gem of horror that was 2020 and 2021, hope seems like the best way for us to move forward, right?
It comes down to a matter of perspective: whether your mindset is a glass “half-full or half-empty.” Some hopeful people who genuinely enjoy the tradition of sitting down, reflecting, and deciding how to improve themselves the following year, should continue to do what makes them happy. The rest of us, who may be getting a bit tired of feeling like a failure three weeks into the new year, should remind ourselves that the tradition of a “New Year’s resolution” is not something we have to do. Constantly thinking about what we can do to “fix” and “better” ourselves in order to reach a level of perfection that can finally satisfy us, leads to years of continuous disappointment and general dissatisfaction. While these resolutions seem small, they can bring up old insecurities, loud and repeating like a record player, making them impossible to ignore. It attributes to our modern “hustle” culture and constant striving for perfection, instead of just learning to be happy with ourselves as we are.
While I don’t think setting goals is necessarily a bad thing, I also think we should try taking a new approach to how we view the future, especially after the unpredictability we’ve experienced over these past few years. The best way to “succeed” in 2022 is not to set rigid, narrow goals for ourselves, rather we should head into the new year with an accepting mind for whatever happens and general openness for however we decide to live.