Are New Year's Resolutions A Good Or A Bad Thing?
As we welcome in the new decade we put it to two NCS grads to give their opinions on New Year’s Resolutions. Do they make us better people? Or are they a pointless exercise that just make us feel like failures? Lucy and Maya, over to you!
LUCY: NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTIONS? NO THANKS!
An old notebook, choked on glitter and glue and colour, scribbled in furiously by a fluffy, purple pen – this was always my experience with New Year’s Resolutions. Eagerly asking others what they think, boldly announcing your goals, pondering the whole day what you would change if you could, blissfully ignoring the unchecked list from last year.
You write New Year’s Resolutions in the wintery whirlwind of Christmas break, where sleep-ins and festive lights are a blurry distraction from the impending doom of school in two weeks. Your brain is stuffed chock-full of Netflix Christmas specials and sprinkles of cinnamon on every beverage you can get your hands on. It’s peaceful, beautiful, reflective - it’s no surprise we’ve become fascinated with the contemporary, fast-paced culture of New Year’s Resolutions.
A time when you list in intimate detail everything you hated about yourself that year, everything you regret and want to change – all in cursive handwriting with doodled hearts.
Let’s not lie to each other – unless you have the iron will of a self-determined optimist, these resolutions are as fleeting as the feeling of Christmas. In 2016, I was a vegetarian for an aching four days, in 2017 I tried shaving my legs every week, only to find myself dreading the Saturday nights – it would leave my skin really sore. It was never about improving myself, it was always about aesthetics, to maybe claw my way up to the high pillars of social media in an unsustainable, desperate attempt to brandish beauty.
And they didn’t last, because my heart was never behind them. It took me a while to realise how unhealthy that was.
A piece of advice? Don’t wait until the cosmos aligns and people let loose a couple of colourful explosives to pick yourself up. Instead, make resolutions when you’re in the thick of it, when you’ve survived something tough and you know yourself the best. Be it a bad set of exams or a financially tight month – you’ll have a clear understanding of your limits then. You know how you struggled and how, next time, you can help yourself.
It’s important to not disregard your achievements and accomplishments in a quick check-list of things you might try out – you can change and grow and learn at any moment you want. You’ve been doing it your whole life!
MAYA: NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTIONS CAN BE GREAT
New Year’s resolutions can seem silly or useless to some, as every year the media talk about life-changing resolutions such as giving up smoking, going to the gym or becoming vegetarian. These big goals are hard to maintain and are off-putting, stopping people from making new year’s goals altogether.
Also, the phrase ‘New Year New Me’ is terrible! It creates the idea that each year you have to change parts of yourself and become a ‘new you’ when actually, the new year is about evaluating the year gone by and setting new targets. It is a chance to grow, develop and add to the person that you were last year.
I believe that New Year’s resolutions are a brilliant way to start the year as long as you approach them a little differently. If you do the following things, I think resolutions can be great!
Make your goals small and achievable
By setting little goals, you avoid the pressure and disappointment of not succeeding. I usually choose things that can have a big impact such as consciously smiling more, or trying to use my phone less.
Write down your goals
Put them in a journal or even the notes page of your phone – these are not set in stone but act as a template. They can be used to assess what you’ve achieved.
Don’t be too hard on yourself
Don’t rush or feel in a hurry to achieve a goal (unless they have a time restriction) there is no pressure.
Don’t compare your goals to anyone else's
Living in a world that practically revolves around social media, regular scrolling through Insta can make you feel that your goals are silly and insignificant in comparison to others. But in order to make goals work, the focus has to be on you and you alone, everyone is on different life paths and will achieve different things at different times.
Remember, there is no such thing as failure
Don’t beat yourself up about forgetting your goal, this is a new year of growth and development and picking yourself up after you fall is an important part of that. And making resolutions is not limited to the new year, these goals can (and should) change as the year goes along based upon personal progress.
Here are some of my goals for the new year:
- Pass my exams
- Smile more
- Cut my phone usage down by at least an hour a day
- Write and read at least once a week
- Visit more art galleries and museums