New year, new us?

Is it worth setting a new year's resolution after 2020

The thought of making a New Year’s resolution after a year like 2020 seems ridiculous.

The most “typical” resolutions, such as exercising more, saving money and quitting vaping, are almost inappropriate. After all, our biggest goal right now seems to be survival, simply put. 

How can we even expect to plan ahead for our goals? The year 2020 disrupted our trips, graduations, sports, jobs and life in general. We came faceto-face with financial insecurity, racial violence and illness. How can we be expected to make and then follow through with a New Year’s resolution?

“Unfortunately, there are no blanket ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answers to many things in life,” said psychology professor Connie Meinholdt.

Meinholdt suggests that if you are going to make a New Year’s resolution, it should be realistic, specific and planned.

“Changing one’s behavior, breaking bad habits or adding good habits in our lives is difficult any time of the year. Willpower is way overrated. Making a plan is usually more successful.”

Third-year secondary chemistry education student Brooke Ankley is a member of the Active Minds student organization on campus. Active Minds is a mental health advocacy group that works to end the stigma behind mental health and provides students help accessing mental health resources. Ankley believes it is healthy for your mind to set resolutions but goals in 2021 may be more difficult than usual to achieve.

“My perspective based off of mental health is that you should set goals, but you should stick to them, and this year has made it hard,” Ankley said. “Selfcare goals are easiest to do, like waking up at a certain time each day. Even making time for yourself or with a friend each day, even if you have to schedule it in is good.”

If you are still looking to set a resolution, aim for something achievable.

“The uncertainty of the COVID pandemic and how it affects so much of daily living is making lots of us feel depressed, angry and anxious. This is one reason why a resolution to maintain or make positive, new social connections is so important.” Meinholdt said. “I recommend making a positive social resolution, like calling your grandparents twice a month, or find a studying partner for a class. Helping others often makes us feel like a good person. Even doing something like ‘pay it forward’ and buying a soda for a stranger often makes two people happy: the giver and the receiver.”

2020 has taught some of us that we need to prepare ourselves for unexpected events: another reason to set a resolution which betters us for the future.

“People live through all sorts of crisis and emergencies like hurricanes, earthquakes, the polar vortex, the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, civil rights riots in the 1960s and more. Many make preparations for when it ‘might’ happen again; some plan to make preparations but never get around to it, some don’t plan or do anything.” Meinholdt said.

The current atmosphere may not be too far off from our past, however.

“There was a global flu pandemic lasting for over a year in 1918. But the 1920s are known as the ‘roaring 20s,’ when lots of people spent their time going to ‘speakeasies,’ drinking bootleg liquor, dancing, gambling and partying. How many of us are yearning to get back to normal? A new normal? Are humans really different now in 2020 than they were in the 1920?” Meinholdt said.

Things are different after 2020, but maybe not as much has changed as we feel has. Set an achievable resolution for yourself this year, and plan out how you are going to go about completing it. Resolutions just might bring us some of the sense of normalcy we are craving.