Most people I know make New Year’s resolutions. And there’s nothing wrong with that. But I do have some concerns about the concept. There is such a huge emphasis on New Year’s Eve in the Western world; the cultural norm is to do something extravagant and out of the ordinary, since you’re celebrating not just the year that ended, but also the new year that is to come. My first problem with this is the obsession we have with doing something ridiculous to celebrate. Celebrations are done in many different ways, and in my opinion, if this is the “only” time in the year to think about starting fresh and acquiring better habits, then the ways in which people tend to celebrate don’t really reflect that. My second problem is that out of the 365 days in the year, the only day we are conscious of the fact that we should set goals and do and be better is Dec 31st. What happened to the rest of the 364 days in the year? Do they hold less significance just because the year doesn’t change? And my third and final problem with New Year’s eve and the resolutions that come with it is the fact that we fail to reflect back on past resolutions to see what we achieved, what we can check off the list, what we did better and the things we still need to work on.
Let’s face it; New Year’s resolutions have become a one day thing, a temporary act that allows us to feel good about making changes and looking ahead with positivity. You write them, and then forget about them. This is not to say that they are useless. Anything that is done right is effective, and New Year’s resolutions are no exception. I personally don’t write New Year’s resolutions, instead I write my goals down every six months, and when the time comes to write them for another six months, I look back on my goals and see what I did well and what went wrong. It’s my way of keeping track of my progress and achievements in all areas of my life including academics, finances, future career, personal/family, and health. Here is my last critique and then I promise to leave you with some optimism. We tend to make unrealistic goals, vague ones or really serious ones. Get specific and get creative! Here are some that I think are great.
MAKE TIME TO PRAY AND/OR MEDITATE.
SIT IN SILENCE FOR AT LEASE 10 MINUTES EACH DAY.
SMILE WHEN YOU WALK. YOU’LL BE SURPRISED HOW MUCH IT AFFECTS YOUR MOOD.
DREAM WHILE YOU ARE AWAKE. WHO SAID YOU ONLY HAVE TO BE ASLEEP TO DREAM?
CALL YOUR FAMILY OFTEN.
LOVE YOUR PARENTS. WE ARE SO BUSY GROWING UP WE OFTEN FORGET THEY ARE ALSO GROWING OLD.
SPEND TIME WITH PEOPLE OVER THE AGE OF 70 AND UNDER THE AGE OF 6.
DON’T STRESS. ESPECIALLY OVER MONEY. IT COMES AND GOES.
Happy New Year everyone, whether you wrote resolutions or not.