As someone who is already in top shape, is utterly successful and wealthy and has never given in to temptation of alcohol or cigarettes, I have never had the need to make a New Year’s resolution, as it is impossible for me to improve myself (I jest, of course). However, the fact that I like who I am doesn’t mean I think the concept of making resolutions is a bad one.
New Year’s resolutions are the very definition of “good in theory, kind of a mess in practice.” All too typically people make huge, romantic but ultimately unfulfilled promises and get upset when their unrealistic expectations never quite work out or, as happens often, are abandoned by the night of January 2.
The most popular resolutions are the promises we make to ourselves that in the coming year we will be “better.” “Finally,” we say, this will be the year in which we lose 50 pounds, quit smoking, call our parents, and scale Mount Everest all at the same time, all while we finally start writing our first novel. Unfortunately, these are resolutions that are most commonly broken. Ever wonder why the gym is packed in January but empty by February?
The problem is not with those making the resolutions, but with the resolutions they try to commit to. They simply take on too much. The secret to keeping to your resolutions it to scale them back to something more realistic. A good guide would be cut your original resolution in half, for example: if you want to lose 50 pounds, shoot instead for 25. Most of the time only doing half of what you intended is still a major accomplishment.
If that doesn’t do it for you, make your resolutions more hedonistic. Instead of resolving to stress less, resolve to binge watch whatever’s popular on Netflix right now. I mean, after all, a small accomplishment is still an accomplishment, right?
Another problem with the overall good concept of making a New Year’s resolution is that often times they’re taken way too seriously. I mean, really, beyond an arbitrary tradition, what sets a New Year’s resolution any different from making a resolution at any other point of the year? That’s right, absolutely nothing, thus being the reason that most people think the tradition is useless. So honestly, why not make it something trivial? You can lose weight or quite smoking any old time, but how often can you sit down and finally put yourself to finishing the latest “Call of Duty?” Exactly, the time is now, people.
New Year’s resolutions, despite being a good idea, often cause more stress then they are due, mostly because they’re a largely meaningless tradition and as such I believe we should take them much less seriously. After all, the coming year will be full of the things we should do, so why not take the opportunity to resolve to do some of the things we want to do?