The New Year almost always brings with it fresh vibes with hopes and anticipation for massive changes and restructuring your lifestyle. 2020 especially is going to fuel many people to come up with exorbitant and ambitious resolutions due to the extended period of time that we’ve all had to sit with ourselves and evaluate ourselves. 2021 resolutions are going to look something like: I’m going to work out daily, I’ll start eating better, I’ll go out more, I’ll work harder on my business or school or whatever. It’s going to be a brave new beginning after most people’s lives went on hiatus since the pandemic began. Seeing as vaccines are coming through and things may fully return to normal, people are hopeful that this new normal will be filled with hope and prosperity; which, to some extent, it will.
In spite of all the hope that the new year will bring, I’ve always been a little sceptical about setting ambitious new year resolutions. It’s crazy, I know. Even though I don’t write out my resolutions, I set them out at the back of my mind. Still, this doesn’t take away from the scepticism I feel about every single new year resolution.
Here are 7 reasons why you shouldn’t be setting new year resolutions:
- New Year Resolutions Are Too Ambitious – It seems like a beautiful dream to imagine that you will hit the gym every single day until you get to that desirable beach body you’ve been dreaming about, however, it might not be practical. Sometimes life gets in the way. You’re too tired, you’re too busy, you’re broke, you’re unmotivated and so on. There could be many reasons that stop you from achieving your resolution. Sure, you’ll start out strong with accomplishing it but when you break the momentum even once, it becomes difficult to accomplish the original goal.
- Uncertainty – If there’s one thing that 2020 has taught us, it’s that you can never really know what’s going to happen next year. At the beginning of this year, my resolution was to get my photography business on its feet and running profitably. By March, I had almost accomplished this goal when the lockdown began in my city and crippled my business. Resolutions normally don’t account for a twist of events, only mostly focusing on the best-case scenario and how that can be leveraged to accomplish the resolution. Throw in some chaos and the resolutions go out of the window since they cannot deal with uncertainty. Any plans that had been formulated cannot deal with the new situation.
- New Year Resolutions are Often Too Rigid – Notice that when someone makes a plan, it most often follows a straight line. Someone tries to kick a habit like smoking, for example. It’s all well and good but as we all know, it’s not easy. You kick one habit and move in with another. You’ve been successful in kicking the habit but have replaced it with another destructive one. Your resolution didn’t picture such a scenario and it wouldn’t look like a big deal since you had not planned to deal with it. This makes the resolution too rigid to deal with new situations and new outcomes of the resolutions being accomplished.
- New Year Resolutions Put Too Much Pressure on You – Especially after a year like 2020, new year resolutions can add too much unnecessary pressure to your life. You had already settled into a particular way of life, trying to overhaul it within a day would just be disastrous. You might actually be on the journey to success but it could also impact those around you and the pressure they feel coming from you will soon be redirected back to you when it becomes too much. Plus, imagine a household whereby everyone changes their lifestyle at the beginning of the year. It’s just going to be a very difficult environment.
- New Year Resolutions Can Become a Crutch For the Rest of the Year – Imagine you’re approaching the end of the year, about September/October. Then you ask your friend why he likes smoking so much. He says he doesn’t and he’s just addicted but he will kick the habit next year. You see how this logic becomes problematic. It can give you an excuse to continue indulging your unhealthy habits and behaviours in the name of kicking them in the next year. By the time the new year comes rolling around, it becomes harder to kick the habit. Much harder than it would have been due to how long you drew it out.
- Failing to Accomplish Them Leads To Negative Emotions – When you set a resolution, you only have about one or two months to gauge if you’re actually going to achieve it. Since 80% of resolutions fail by the beginning of February, you’re actually at risk of getting very discouraged by the time February arrives. Discouragement stings more because the moment you’re discouraged, even though you still have time to carry on with the resolution, you’re going to completely abandon it for the rest of the year with the hopes that ‘next year I’ll do it’. Only, every year is the same.
- You Don’t Need a New Year to Set Resolutions – Think about it, we just picked a random place where the earth rotates around the sun and decided that that’s where our years will begin and end. There was nothing special about the date, it was completely random. Waiting for this date to set a resolution is kind of backwards thinking. You could set resolutions today, in April or any other day. Whenever you set resolutions, it doesn’t matter. The important thing is that you follow up on them.
There’s nothing inherently wrong with setting a new year’s resolution. The devil is always in the details. we fail to see the specifics of how our resolutions will work and the amount of effort it will take to accomplish the said resolution. If you’re a disciplined person, by all means, go right ahead. But what if you’re not a disciplined person and are prone to slacking every now and again. I’d advise that you set small incremental changes to your life that won’t shake up the entirety of your lifestyle. These small changes will take months before you can see results but in the end, you would have formed a habit or kicked one out. It’s not as fantastic and grand as a new year’s resolution where you wake up one day and you’re no longer a smoker, but it’s realistic and achievable. Also, don’t make the mistake of implementing too many changes. Humans are creatures of habit and if you overhaul all your habits, it’s not going to work. Tackle one or two areas of your life at a time and wait to see the results in the long run.
Remember, these are just my opinions.