Are New Year’s Resolutions Pointless?

It’s that time of year again; we’ve officially kissed 2020 goodbye and have hailed in 2021. For some people, approaching the end of a calendar year calls for a moment of self-reflection to figure out how they can better themselves during the next one. They toss the last Quality Street box in the bin and vow never to eat a chocolate again. Or they dig out their trainers and pledge to start exercising more. They may even take a pass on the Winter sales and resolve to start saving more money. At least these are the more common resolutions made.

However, statistics condemn that most (90%) of these resolutions will be broken long before 31st December 2021. In fact, 19th January has now been branded as ‘Quitters Day’ as it is the day where most people throw in the towel and decide to give the whole ‘New Year’s Resolution’ thing another crack the next year. Yet, despite their notorious reputation for disappointment, around 14 million Brits still make a New Year’s Resolution come 1st January. These people also tend to be sincere in making these goals- no one sets out intending to make a half-hearted attempt at changing their life. I personally have never made a New Year’s Resolution. I also have absolutely no authority to speak on this subject, but since your reading I may as well explain why I think the whole concept is flawed to begin with.

In my opinion, 1st January is not the best time to go about revolutionising your lifestyle. Most people go into January feeling a little downcast- the festive cheer has just about worn off and the weather is pretty gloomy. Yet to top it off there’s also a warped sense of pressure to reinvent yourself. In my opinion, simply waking up with a positive outlook for the year is good going for 1st January, let alone committing yourself to a 10k run every morning.

I think the obsession with changing your life on New Year’s Day is counterproductive. As I’ve already mentioned, most people who make resolutions aren’t able to stick to them which unsurprisingly can lead to a feeling of failure and subsequent demotivation. In addition, the obsession with ‘new year, new me’ means that people feel if they don’t make a resolution on 1st January itself, they’ve missed the ‘self-reinvention’ boat until it comes around again the next year. You’re either ready to make a meaningful change to your life, or you’re not. 1st January will not magically be the day everyone is ready. 5th May is also a pretty good day to decide to better yourself. Or 18th November. Or basically any day in the year. In my opinion, making goals at whichever point in the year you want to make them seems far more worthwhile than trying to make radical changes to your life on 1st January because that’s what you feel you should do.

I’m not saying I have anything against people who want to improve their lives- quite the opposite really. I simply don’t agree with the expectation that these improvements are only meaningful if they are made on 1st January. If there’s one thing 2020 taught me (quite forcefully) it’s that you can never truly predict how a year will pan out. So, if at the time you’re reading this you’ve already decided to postpone your New Year’s Resolution, don’t be too hard on yourself. Life can be unexpected and it’s not always possible for us to do all of the things we set out to do on 1st January. 2020 was a uniquely tough year for many people so, I’d like to take this opportunity to wish you a very Happy New Year. Here’s to hoping 2021 will be a better year for everyone.

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