Olivia Russell 20th January 2019
Without being too presumptuous, the odds are good that you have failed whatever New Year’s resolution you promised yourself you would follow through on. You might be trying and failing to justify that sneaky pint, or skipping the gym and feeling awful about it. Don’t beat yourself up about it. Like so much right now, millennial pressure to be the best you can be, is too detrimental (and miserable) to be effective.
Every January is now Dry January, where the average Brit will give it their all to commit to a month of no alcohol but will undoubtedly relapse when it comes to meeting their mates for the pub quiz. God loves a trier. But in 2019, the push for Veganuary has been arguably more popular, with many opting for more ethical and sustainable start to their new year, and Greggs sausage roll being a hot topic amongst the Twittersphere. But what if setting yourself these goals and ambitions is simply a lost and unattainable cause?
January is often a time of reflection. Going over and cringing at all those questionable decisions you made the previous year; the good, the bad and the ugly. The new year is seen as an opportunity to refine and redefine yourself, a clean slate, a chance to propose a fresh mindset in an effort to better ourselves as individuals. I’m sure your Facebook timeline has been bombarded with the same people talking about how this year is going to be “their year”, sounding like a broken record.
Setting resolutions to a confined calendar year is often a regimented and unrealistic approach to achieving our ambitions. If you’re proposing the same resolutions year on year, why do you think they aren’t working? Think about it. You have just come out of a period of plentiful hangovers and excessive calorie consumption. Do you really think your mental state is ready to switch gears and commit to a pricey gym membership over doing whatever the hell you feel like?
Not to mention the amounting guilt you feel if you don’t attend. Slowly you become less obliged to stick to the far-fetched resolutions you have set yourself because, if anything, the pressure of doing so can put you off attaining your goals. Change isn’t only difficult, it’s no fun, and a success-failure assessment of self-improvement diminishes any actual rewards to the point where the whole experiment becomes fruitless.
Instead of setting yourself up for failure and a knock to your self-esteem, don’t jump in at the deep end. Dip your toes into certain activities and ideas you want to pursue. See if they are really for you. That way you can establish a more realistic path to achieving those goals.
And question yourself. What do you want to accomplish? What are the long-term benefits of what you have set yourself out to do?
I have tried the New Years resolution nonsense in the past, setting myself targets such as waking up at 8am every morning — in order to have a more productive day — and to go to sleep earlier as I’m most definitely a night owl. Having attempted three mornings of waking up at that time, regardless of my plans, the student in me decided that it was not for me.
Alternatively, something I have always wanted to get back into is reading, but I have never set this as a new year’s resolution. However, I have eased it into my routine and have made more time for it; it also gets me off my phone which is a bonus. By not putting pressure, and targets on myself, it was easier for me to make a change.
The immediacy and demand for sudden change that comes with new year’s resolutions leaves the best part of us disappointed. Instead, make it “your year” by gradually introducing changes into your life, you will then feel more inclined to stick at what you have set out to do! Bettering yourself shouldn’t be established by an arbitrary time scale; stop focusing on the calendar! The new year shouldn’t define how and when you change your ways.
For you guys that actually stick to your resolutions, well done! You’re most certainly a rarity, part of the 8% that will stand by their new year’s goals till the end of 2019. For the rest of us, it’s about time to put the “new year, new me” attitude to bed, it’s becoming tedious and repetitive. The majority of us are going to be the same bitch they were the previous year. Let’s face it, you can’t opt for an alternate image and lifestyle as soon as the clock strikes midnight.
Olivia Russell 20th January 2019