With the start of the new year comes the formation of the ever classic New Year’s resolutions, which are promises and goals that people set for themselves in order to have a more productive and organized year. The tradition of setting personal goals to ring in the new year dates back to the 17th century and is still kept alive today.
While having goals for oneself is definitely a positive thing, the stressed nature of immediately changing things about your life the second the clock strikes 12 can be overwhelming.
The problem with New Year’s resolutions is that everyone sets them at the same time as per tradition, and the goal of an overall improved life suddenly turns into a competition. While resolutions can be personal, some of the most common resolutions set can quickly turn toxic if made into a competition.
Two examples of this would be the goal to lose weight—which has gained popularity among the years—and the goal to make more money.
We live in a society that romanticizes “grind culture,” pushing others to constantly improve upon their lives or be upstaged by their peers. New Year’s resolutions only further this ridiculous mindset, setting the precedent that if you have no goals to somehow “improve” your life, you’re not as motivated nor successful as those around you.
We live in a society that romanticizes “grind culture,” pushing others to constantly improve upon their lives or be upstaged by their peers.
The societal pressure to make constant drastic changes in one’s life is unhealthy and unrealistic, and when people set out to achieve goals that were rigged from the start, the only thing they reach is disappointment.
Oftentimes, when people choose to change things about their life starting January 1, there is this looming fear that the minute you veer from your path, you have failed. This stems from the knowledge that others around you have started to work on their goals at the same time as you. Therefore, whoever gives in first is the loser.
Additionally, people tend to set goals for themselves that are completely unnecessary because those around them do the same and pressure others that don’t necessarily have anything drastic they feel they need to improve upon.
The reality of the situation is that nobody should be expected to change their life overnight. It should be acknowledged by society that it is okay to slip up sometimes, a natural quality that doesn’t make you a failure. Goals are meant to be achieved with time; it is unrealistic to change things about yourself or your life completely in a matter of days.
Any type of improvement should be encouraged, no matter the time taken.
The reality of the situation is that nobody should be expected to change their life overnight.
Rather than creating a set of resolutions tying to the new year, society should instead encourage the creation of goals as people see fit. People should not feel guilty for not setting out to change their lives as a new year begins, but instead should be encouraged to make healthy changes at their own pace.
There are many ways that people can plan out goals to improve the overall quality of their life without a time stamp on it.
Goals tying to the beginning of the year pressure people into putting a date on the accomplishment of these goals, just 365 days before the next set of resolutions rolls in.
The idea of resolutions in general is nowhere near negative, but the idea of setting goals for yourself because everyone else is doing it is misguided. People should want to improve upon themselves because they feel they want to, not because they see others doing so.
There shouldn’t be a set start time to improve your life, and there shouldn’t be judgement from peers because your start time differs from the traditions of society. The idolization of New Year’s Resolutions should stop, but the encouragement to form goals at your own pace should continue.
Photo courtesy of Mental Floss