As the new year’s celebrations have come and gone, nearly 50% of Americans are projected to make new year’s resolutions. However, only 8% are projected to keep to their resolutions, and I say good.
The concept of the new year’s resolution dates back over 4,000 years to the Babylonians. Their resolutions were less about bettering themselves but reaffirming their allegiances to their royalty and their gods.
According to history.com, the Babylonians were also considered the first to celebrate the new year, although their new year started in mid-March following the growing season.
Today, the modern new year’s resolution is non-secular and more about bettering oneself, and I think we need just to abolish the practice.
First and foremost, the last two years have been excruciating. We have all been burning the candle at both ends and amid another surge, we don’t need more stacked on. If you have been conscious in the last two years, you deserve an award.
If you feel you must put forth some resolution, start small. Dr. Lazarus told CNET that people tend to fail because they set their sights too high.
“What might be more productive is to be more aware of what we’re doing and how it impacts us on an ongoing basis so that we can be making adjustments in our lives to move towards what we really care about,” Dr. Lazarus said.
For example, if you want to stop eating sweets in 2022, quitting cold turkey will get you nowhere. However, reducing a daily cookie with coffee to a weekend treat can make the task seem far less substantial.
Furthermore, we tend to focus on the negative. If you want to make a resolution, don’t focus on what you need to fix, but what positive changes you could implement.
“Mindfulness is the basic human ability to be fully present, aware of where we are and what we’re doing, and not overly reactive or overwhelmed by what’s going on around us,” according to mindfulness.org.
This doesn’t require an extensive routine or any supplies, really, just taking a moment to be present where you are, not thinking about your other responsibilities, not on your phone or distracted by content, just you and yourself for a few minutes.
This could be as simple as focusing on your breathing in bed for a few minutes after you wake up or just enjoying a silent drive home with yourself.
We don’t need to place excess pressure on ourselves to improve, especially by an arbitrary date. If you want to set goals to better yourself, do so at your own pace and for your own reasons, not because a calendar tells you it’s time to become a better human.