Column: Why News Year’s resolutions need to be left in 2022

Mallory Pace, News Editor

It’s New Year’s Eve, and you’re watching the ball drop on a 40-inch TV cheering and spilling flutes of champagne as couples and friends celebrate with a kiss. You think to yourself: this year is going to be different.  

The next thing you know, sunshine is barging into your room uninvited and your head pounds as it remembers all the unspeakable things you did last night—New Year’s Day.  

 It’s a bit ironic, no? The very first day of an entirely brand-new year tends to start with a hangover. Once you’re able to get out of bed, it’s time to set your goals and intentions for the year as if you didn’t just confess your love for your ex last night through streams of tears. I am not speaking from experience… 

I know I’m being a bit cynical, but the idea of making goals for an entire year—a year filled with surprises and curveballs, good and bad—doesn’t sit right with me.  

Honestly, it actually might be the perfect recipe for disaster—make lists of goals and aspirations you want to accomplish in the next year and then be surprised at your failure when life throws something unexpected at you. So many things can happen in an entire year—expectations change, plans fail, and life never stops for any of it.  

(Tim Mossholder/Unsplash)

Also, why do New Year’s resolutions have to include the hardest things we’ve ever heard of? Why do I have to train for a marathon and then win it to feel like I can celebrate myself?  

I want to start patting myself on the back when I go for an extra-long walk or when I make it to the gym on the days I would rather do anything else. Those are also accomplishments worth celebrating—pushing yourself to do something, big or small.  

This isn’t to say you shouldn’t strive to better yourself through setting goals, we should always be trying to do better and feel better. It’s more so the toxicity behind kicking ourselves when things, usually out of our control, go awry. (Which I’m pretty sure is also scientifically inevitable but I’m not a science major.)  

 The problem I have identified with New Year’s resolutions is that they don’t account for change. While the intentions behind setting goals are generally optimistic, it typically neglects making room for curveballs.  

No one writes, “I want to go to the gym 5 times a week and never eat fast food again—but it’s okay if I don’t.” Sure, goals are supposed to be something new and challenging, but they rarely include giving yourself grace. 

When we reach the end of the year and realize we didn’t really stick with those initial goals and routines, we beat ourselves up for it…badly. Sometimes we try to make even harder goals for the next year to make up for this one; thus the cycle continues.  

(Ian Schneider/Unsplash)

Therefore, I propose we leave New Year’s Resolutions in the rearview mirror of 2022 and start a new tradition—one that includes forgiving ourselves for not following through with them. 

No one can see in the future and hindsight is always 20/20, so don’t try and predict the details—let accomplishments come and go and celebrate along the way. 

 Reflect on your past year and write down everything you’ve done, accomplished, and felt. Then, realistically, think about what you want this next year to look like and set your intentions based on that. Start small if you want or shoot for the stars—goals can always be made and always be met.  

Be easy on yourself in 2023 and Happy New Year!


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