‘New year, new you’ mentality is unrealistic, sets people up for potential failure

Staff Editorial

The holiday season is a time for celebration and rejoicing, a time for family and friends to come together and celebrate whichever winter holiday they celebrate, and as Christmas fades, everyone gears up for New Year’s celebrations.

People waste the last month of the year eating whatever they want, avoiding the gym, ignoring their books, with promises of fixing their problem with a New Year’s resolution. These lofty and unrealistic goals cast a shadow on what is supposed to be a fresh new start, and in order for New Year’s resolutions to return to their former purpose people must learn how to be adaptable.

The first problem is that most people do not know how to set a realistic goal for the new  year. They set absolute goals such as “going to the gym three times a week” or “cutting out all bread.”

Due to these goals being so concrete and rigid, the second that people fail to meet them they are tossed out the window. If the point of making a new year’s resolution is to change yourself for the better, then people need to be persistent in their goals instead of ditching them the second their schedule changes.

Another underlying issue is the psychology behind the word “resolution”. According to US News, 80 percent of New Year’s resolutions are given up by the second week of February. This can partly be attested to the connotation behind the word “resolution”. This word implied a concrete goal, one that is unchangeable and unable to adapt to people’s ever changing schedules. The goal turns into a demand, and instead of it being more of an “I should” it becomes an “I must”. Once this happens, failure is pretty much inevitable. If one is to set a new years resolution, you must be able to roll with the punches and change your schedule as needed.

A flaw is the belief that setting a strict, aggressive goal will help us reach our goals faster. Numerous crash diets such as the juice cleanse, in which the participant drinks nothing but juice for a day to “cleanse the body”, or low carb diets, in which the goal is to cut out as many carbs as possible, have become popular trends. Yet when it comes to making a long term goal, less is always more. If someone rarely goes to the gym, a goal of working out five days a week is unrealistic. This goal risks becoming one of the 80 percent of failed goals. Instead, working out two days a week is a lot less intimidating when trying to make a lifestyle change. January 1 is the start of unfulfilling resolutions instead of the fresh new year. If the resolution is something that the maker really wants, then there is no reason to put it off until the new year. Picking a precise day to start a goal is like deciding to start your homework at 4:00,forgetting to start, and then deciding to start it at 5:00. If it is something you need to do, and most importantly something you want to do, then there is no reason to put it off.

Putting off a resolution until new years can actually be more harmful. There is so much pressure to make a drastic lifestyle change that it can do more harm than good.

A new year’s resolution is overrated. Goals are too strict, expectations are too high, and failure is common. One must learn to be adaptable when it comes to resolutions, and learning how to set a goal and the common traps to avoid can make all the difference.