New Year’s Resolutions: Not What to Change, but How?

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By Lilly Moore
Contributing Writer

I hate New Year’s resolutions, and I always have. To me, there is nothing extraordinarily beneficial for a person’s wellbeing in promising to wake up 30 minutes earlier, joining a new gym, or restricting one’s eating habits, knowing full well that by the end of the month, you’ll have broken every promise that you swore you would stick to.

No amount of bullet journaling or girlfriend pacts will change that. We are creatures of habit, and habits are hard to break, especially when you’re trying to change more than one at a time. I feel also many times, resolutions support cutting habits that aren’t necessarily bad. Sleep is healthy, food is good, overworking your body is damaging, and luxury in moderation benefits a person.

January 1 marks a point at which, as we enter a new year, we ostracize the indulgent joys of life and mark them as negative, for the sake of “becoming a better me,” even if the steps we are taking to become “better” have no true positive effect on our persons.

I don’t want to make it seem like I’m against fixing unhealthy habits. If you don’t exercise and eat a non-nutritious diet, then the new year alone can serve as a good enough excuse and point of motivation, so by all means take it. I’m actually highly in favor of utilizing the new year as a point of change and reflection. Change is good, just as much as maintaining healthy habits is. It’s necessary that we allow change into our lives in order to keep moving forward in the world, to keep progressing through our lives.

However, when one’s idea of “change” comes from wholly superficial and more societally approved means, reevaluation should be taken to review what really important to one’s progression as a human being.

So how do we find that healthy balance? How do we choose the changes we make and maintain through the new year? I think the most prominent solution comes in self-reflection. What values matter to you? What did you like about yourself in this past year, and what would you like to make different? Who did you see yourself as last year? Did you like who you were? What do you see yourself becoming in the next? Is it someone you can take pride in?

All of these questions are reasonable examples of how self-evaluation can positively benefit the upcoming year. Rather than maintaining the idea that physicality is paramount, we should instead look inwards and find where our strengths and shortcomings lay. Make decisions.

Take risks, be kinder, be meaner, evaluate your own needs and take action accordingly. This may involve needs of the physical person. That’s okay, good, even, but we should not allow the wants of our physicality to overweigh the needs of our mentality and personality.

In short, in this time which society asks us to make changes, make an evaluation of the person rather than empty promises. Max Ehrmand once said in his prose Desiderata, “Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here.” While change is good and healthy, make sure, above all, you’re content.