I don’t believe in New Year’s resolutions. The idea is a good one. I do think we should strive to better ourselves and set a few attainable goals. I’m all for that. Let’s work out more and eat better and volunteer and learn to salsa. Let’s do all the learning and growing. But the whole notion of making all these goals right before or after the start of the new year because it’s a fresh start is kind of baffling. Because let’s be honest, the new year is just another year. Going from 2015 to 2016 doesn’t change who we are or immediately alter our circumstances, it just makes us fuck up a few thousand times when we write the date on something. The New Year is really just not conducive to greatness. Contrary to what many people think, the new year does not equal a new you. You can make all the New Year’s resolutions you want but you’ll most likely give up come February. Exhibit A for me is this blog post. Here I am writing about New Year’s resolutions on January 20th, 2016. Not December 31st 2015, not January 1st 2016, not even January 3rd 2016. We are 20 days into the New Year and I am just now tapping out this blog post even though I told myself I would post it in time for the New Year. Oops.
Just for fun, I would like to further illustrate with a list of what my New Year’s resolution’s would be (if I had any) and the many ways in which I would immediately destroy these goals (and not in a cool victorious way).
- Post on my blog two times per week.
- Go to the gym or do some sort of work out at least 4 times a week.
- Read 2 books in English and one in either French or Spanish per month.
- Practice my French on Duolingo every day and start learning German.
- Read all the cover stories of the New York Times every day.
- Explore more of the boroughs.
As you can see, I’m not trying to go to the moon here. Most of the resolutions I would like to set for myself are easily attainable, affordable, and require no help from anyone. So what’s standing in the way? LIFE IS! The thing is, the New Year doesn’t form this little bubble around you that allows you to live in Candy Land and ignore your responsibilities and do whatever the fuck you want. You still have to work, and go to school, and do laundry, and buy groceries. I won’t post on my blog two times a week because come school I’ll probably be too busy writing articles for my classes. I might go to the gym but definitely not four times a week because most of my free time is spent commuting between jobs and school and the gym requires going out in the cold. I won’t read all those extra books I actually want to read because I’ll have lot’s of books to read for school and by the time I’m done with those I’ll be begging for mind numbing TV to rest my brain. You get the picture? Life just gets in the way.
As you can see my problem isn’t really with the idea of setting goals. My beef is with the idea that we should come up with these goals once a year, fail to achieve them, console ourselves with the cliché “there’s always next year” and continue with our lives. I think it’s stupid to set goals only once per year, especially because it is so socially acceptable to brush them away. To me New Year’s resolutions are just a way to make ourselves feel like we’re actually going to do something different but not actually committing to it. Sometimes it’s not our fault. Like I said, life gets in the way but something about resolutions just seems to make them especially susceptible to the little kinks in life.
So when should we try to spice up our lives with new goals and activities? All the damn time. That’s when. I think sometimes we have to wait for the right moment to start up a change in our lives. Because more often than not there’s a perfect moment when we can actually do what we have been wanting to do and stick with it. If you allow yourself to find a moment to grow at any point in the damn year, you most likely will actually grow. Because with everything going on in our daily lives we need actual motivation to push us to take a stab at our goals. And more often than not, motivation doesn’t just magically show up at our doorstep on the 1st of January every year. So stop limiting yourself with bullshit New Year’s resolutions that you’re never going to achieve and try to work towards your goals when you’ll actually put some effort into them. When something inspires you to make a change in your life go with it, don’t brush it off ‘til the next year.
New year ≠ New You. Motivated you = New You.