I do not believe in New Years Resolutions.
Work out. Go on a diet. Cook instead of going out. Be more organized. Spend more time with friends and family. Be more fiscally responsible. Quit smoking. Quit drinking. Be a better person. Volunteer. Learn a foreign language. Be a different person.
The Christmas holidays, despite their intended meaning of being a time for family and thankfulness, serve as the culmination of all of our terrible habits. It’s the same thing every December: people celebrate by over-eating, over-drinking, and spending as much money as possible with the justification that once New Years arrives, everything will magically change. Once the clock strikes midnight, we are expected to live up to the unrealistic list of expectations we have set for ourselves. Ironically, we do this by going out and spending a ton of money in bars to get plastered drunk and then resolve to not do any of these things anymore come the next day. What better way to celebrate the new and improved you than by spending the first day of the new year with an unrelenting hangover? Perhaps I seem a bit cynical to have already given up on New Years resolutions at the age of 23, somewhat like a child giving up on the existence of Santa Clause, but it has nothing to do with pessimism. I only believe that if you really want to change something, it has nothing to do with what the date is.
“New Year, New Me”
This quote makes an appearance every 365 days or so and serves as the number one cause of self-delusion and disappoint for the beginning of the year. With such a strong statement, there should be strong actions following it, but people don’t change that drastically just because it’s time to buy a new calendar. I completely understand trying to improve yourself, but if someone says they’re going to become an entirely changed person, they are setting themselves up failure. Instead of making realistic goals, people build up a fantasy on a sheet of paper, listing how much more responsible and healthy they’re going to be, and how much their lives will change. Since the list is so black and white, one little mistake can lead to the conclusion that they may as well not bother to change since they’ve already let themselves down.
Go on a Diet and Lose Weight!
I’d bet that this is the most common and most failed resolution in America. Everyone, including myself, has written it down on a piece of paper and promised themselves that they will get in shape, only to find that come January first, carbs are still delicious and working out still sucks. As a waitress, I actually see a lot of these trends through how busy we are. During December we had people packed in every night to indulge in carbs, buy each other shots, and spend their holiday bonuses. For the last couple of weeks, however, we’ve been completely dead because everyone is on their brief “resolution kick” where they resolve to eat healthier and cook more. Despite how slow we’ve been, I don’t lose hope because I know they’ll be back. Slowly but surely, they’ll get back into the swing of things and realize that no normal working person has time to work out 5 times a week, cook dinner every night, and deal with society in general without having a cold beer every once and a while. Currently I’m hoping that people will break their diets soon so that I can make some money.
I think this has been my main resolution every year, so naturally I’m in terrible shape. My problem is that I am nothing without structure, and I also need a support buddy. When I have a certain time to go work out and a friend with which to do so, there may be hope. But something always happens to make me miss one day, usually something I waited to study for until the last minute, or the fact that I didn’t have time before work to shower, or the other person couldn’t make it and of course I’m not going by myself! From my experience, if you’re not a person who generally works out, you’re probably not going to suddenly turn into a work out fiend, which is what most people expect of themselves. Once they realize that it’s going to take more than one week to achieve the body they want, it’s back to “I’ll just work out next week.”
Reconnect with Family and Friends
I totally think I need a lot of work on this one, but then again, it has nothing to do with the fact that it is 2013. Everyone has a busy schedule, and when you have a day off, the first thing you want to do is relax on your couch and not go anywhere. Somehow it’s always when you’re at the most hectic point in your life that you think of how much you miss certain people. The main issue I have with this resolution is that the phone goes both ways, and you can’t always blame yourself if you don’t have time to see all the people from whom you’ve grown apart. Here’s my main thought on this one: If you miss someone, call them. You don’t have to wait until January.
Like everyone else, I’ve failed at resolutions because I plan too big. Instead of saying “no more carbs,” try “eat healthier.” Quitting anything cold turkey fails for most people, but gradual lifestyle changes can actual work with a good reason. If the new year is a strong enough motivation for you, then congratulations, but you’re still the same person as you were five minutes before midnight.