With 2019 already engulfing us, New Year’s resolutions are the topic of most everyday conversations. If you look up “New Year’s resolutions” on the internet you are bound to find millions of websites advertising different resolutions in addition to strategies to actually stick to them throughout the year. It is obvious that setting these goals at the start of the year is an integral part of our culture, but is it beneficial, or even healthy?
In today’s culture, resolutions are extremely prevalent, but the idea that you’re going to give up on those resolutions is also normalized. It has become a universal joke to set these extravagant goals for yourself and walk out on them halfway into January. I cannot help but look at this phenomenon and wonder what kind of mental repercussions it leaves in its wake every year.
What this phenomenon does is lodge this idea into our minds that we only have this one opportunity to better ourselves a year, and we only have one chance to get it right. In reality, every single day is an opportunity to better oneself mentally, physically, emotionally, spiritually–really the options are endless.
Is it really fair to give yourself one chance a year to make that change? Is it healthy to set those kinds of standards for yourself? These are important questions to consider as we are trying to stick to our resolutions for the new year.
As a female, as long as I can remember, my primary resolutions year after year always pertained in some way to my fundamental belief that I needed to look better. I needed to work out at least time three times a week. I needed to cut out desserts completely. I needed to expand my makeup expertise. Did I ever stick to these goals or feel better about myself when I did hold myself accountable? I absolutely did not.
Realistically, I felt uninspired, I felt like a failure. I always looked forward to the new year, I was excited to have a chance to start over and make sure that I actually lost the weight–or whatever my goal was that particular year.
As I got further into my teenage years, I began to question the validity of these goals that I was setting for myself. I questioned why I was doing it and my conclusion came to be that I had no idea. I set these resolutions because everyone else was doing it. I did it because it seemed like a thing I should be doing. More often than not, I was not truly bettering myself, but rather creating unhealthy goals for myself and limiting my potential to better myself on a daily basis.
As important as goals are to your psyche, you cannot forget that everyone has an opportunity to set and reach new goals each and every day no matter what the calendar says.
New Year’s resolutions can often create unhealthy self-concepts, one’s “belief about himself or herself, including the person’s attributes and who and what the self is” (Baumeister 1999). It is important to remember that as humans, it is natural to make mistakes regularly, but also that we have infinite opportunities to elevate oneself and improve upon those mistakes.