I don’t know about New Year’s Resolutions. I mean, I know about them, I just don’t think they are very helpful or necessary. When have you ever actually ‘done’ something you resolved to do at the start of a new year? If the answer is at all, well done. I cannot count myself among your motivated numbers.
I used to set New Year’s Resolutions for myself. I’m sure I had whole pages in my diary detailing my ‘new year new me’ ideas and aspirations. And I worked toward those resolutions, for the first few weeks. I exercised, I studied, I crafted. Then real life set in, routine hit, summer TV finished and my goals slowly receded, apologetically shrinking into unattainable, and I continued on my way, feeling ever so slightly let down by myself.
Want a bad way to start a new year? Feeling let down by yourself. Before the year has even begun, you feel defeated by it. It can already be hard to get through life believing that you are a pretty decent person (you are, I’m sure, sometimes the brain plays tricks is all); I’m quite sure nobody needs the added pressure of unrealistic goals. Because they always are unrealistic, aren’t they? It’s a new year, you feel energised, you want it to be amazing. So you set yourself incredible goals that are probably too much and you end up giving up before you’ve really even started, with earnest excuses and promises of ‘next year’.
‘This year I will go running everyday/spend five hours every night writing my book/cook something new for dinner every night/not eat junk food or sugar at all/move to France/become a size zero.
is something I find not helpful.
With goals like these, who needs self belief and good feelings? If you are most people, myself included, none of these goals are actually that realistic. Adapted versions of these goals? Definitely possible.
The ‘New Year’ is a good starting point for making some changes in your life. Maybe a time to be thinking of doing a new thing, or going to a new place. But it is not the be all and end all. If you fail to start your new hobby/diet/life change in January, who cares? Do it in February or April or whenever the hell you feel like it’s right. It isn’t affecting anybody except you. You don’t need to tell anybody about your goals, you don’t need to be unwaveringly strict on yourself, and you don’t need to beat yourself up if you start your new thing in June.
The thing I am doing this year? Making no goals. And if I feel the urge to do something new, just doing it. Just starting. On a random day, at an unknown time, without telling anybody.