2020 Approaches: How “New” Are You?
Photo credit to the Loudoun County Chamber of Commerce.
How many times did you actually exercise this year? How much water did you drink? Did you really develop better study habits, or finally organize your backpack?
As the new year (and new decade) rapidly approaches, we once again scramble to identify the areas in which we could do better and resolve to fix ourselves come midnight, January 1st. However, by the time June (or even the end of January) rolls around, we often end up admitting to ourselves and one another that we have not even begun to think about accomplishing such goals. But is that such a bad thing?
In theory, the idea of “new year, new me” is a productive one. It lays out a simple goal or two we wish to fulfill in twelve months and potentially beyond, and promotes the concept of self-improvement. Oftentimes, resolutions are broad objectives that are derived from traditional standards that are considered to be useful or beneficial to oneself.
“I always resolve to drink more water, but I never do,” said Keira Reidy (‘23). “Hopefully, this year I can stick to it.” She outlines a clear and simple resolution that many others hope to succeed at as well, and features the common imaginary wall of procrastination and quotes like “I’ll start tomorrow” or “next time I’ll do it” that plagues most people come the new year. So why are new year resolutions so difficult to stick to?
The facade of a seemingly simple goal could be what makes it so easy for even the most hardworking person to push off their resolution to the next day (and the next, and the next). The outward manageability of one workout session per week or one glass of water per day or one less bacon, egg, and cheese from Harry’s is perhaps what makes such resolutions easy to postpone. Suddenly, there is no more “tomorrow” to push your goal to; the year, as we learn more and more as they pass, has a tendency to fly by.
The shame and stigma that accompanies the “failure” to meet one’s resolution, while masked as a form of motivation, could be another fault of such a resolution-centric process. It does not allow us as humans to bask in our small successes.
“You’re great, you don’t have to become a new person with the new year,” said Frankie Komar (‘22). “The new year comes with an expectation of reinvention, so a lot of people don’t focus on what they’ve accomplished and what they have.”
A step in the right direction should still be celebrated, even if at the end of the year the entire resolution is not complete.
“The most powerful thing you can do with a new year’s resolution is to make a habit. It doesn’t have to be this big thing. Like, instead of this new year I’m gonna transform my body, this year I’m going to start carrying around a water bottle,” Frankie continued.
Why do we tell ourselves to wait for the new year to make change? The holidays are a great time to reflect on the past year, but self-improvement should be constant.