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New Year’s Resolutions: Helpful or Pointless?

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Women’s Network Chair, Chloë Morgan, shares her refreshing view on New Year’s Resolutions; this is a must-read for heading into 2020 with the right frame of mind!

It’s that time of year again. The clock strikes midnight. A new day. A new month. But most importantly, a new year. AKA: a fresh start; a time to change; a new you.

We start a year wanting to be the best version of ourselves. We want to be slimmer, healthier, kinder, more financially stable, and more successful than the year before. We want to lose the weight and keep it off; join the gym and actually go; give more to charity; put more money in savings, and simply excel in everything we do.

December is a month for self-reflection, where we look back at the past year and criticise every decision we made, swearing to ourselves that this year will be better. It will be our year. We make these promises, or resolutions, to motivate ourselves to change, to give ourselves the fresh start we feel we need. We want to be the best person we can be and achieve the most we possibly can. What a wonderful idea! Right?!

Now, this is where we couldn’t be more wrong. New Year’s Resolutions are masked as essential steps to take to become a better person. When, in reality, they are simply societal pressures brainwashing us of what makes ‘a good person’, whilst simultaneously convincing us that we aren’t enough and therefore must change in order to be. This being the case, New Year’s Resolutions are extremely detrimental for our self-esteem. Society forces us to believe that we needto improve, suggesting that we aren’t good enough as we are.

Double-paged spreads of washboard abs and perky bums are drilled into our heads, next to the words: ‘How to shed the pounds in time for summer’. Photoshopped faces force us to believe we need to spend our life savings on a new cleanser. Pictures of people’s ‘perfect’ lives persuade us that we need to change ours. We need to look better; we need to be better. When, in reality, we don’t. In reality, and what these magazines won’t tell us, is that we need to strive for self-acceptance rather than self-improvement. We need to learn to love ourselves as we are, even if it is without those washboard abs and perky bums. New Year’s Resolutions tell us we are unworthy as we are, and to be worthy, we need to change.

But what if we don’t make them? What if we start the new year as we are, without putting unnecessary pressure on ourselves or setting ourselves unrealistic goals? I’ll tell you one thing, we’d probably be a lot more excited for the year ahead.

In December 2018, it was found that: “approximately 80 percent of people who make New Year’s Resolutions have dropped them by the second week of February.”This is because New Year’s Resolutions are like goals, meaning we focus on what we don’t have rather than what we do, making us feel less-than and subsequently reducing our self-confidence and self-esteem. This is why the majority of people who make New Year’s Resolutions don’t keep them. Shortly after the year has begun, we lose faith in ourselves and realise that they are a lot more work and a lot less attainable than we’d originally thought.

We also have a habit of making multiple New Year’s Resolutions rather than just one. So, we become overwhelmed by all the changes we have imposed on ourselves and once we break one, we decide there’s no point in keeping the others. This leads to misery and our self-esteem going even further down the drain. Happy New Year?!

Finally: why are resolutions only for the new year? We’re expected to make promises to improve ourselves at the end of a year ready for the year ahead, but surely we can improve ourselves at any point? Surely, whether it’s the first month of the year or the tenth doesn’t really matter? At the end of the day, we’re trying to better ourselves for our own sake or the sake of others.

So, f*** what society tells us: ‘new year, new you’. What about: ‘new year, same you’? We don’t need to change simply because it’s a new year. In fact, we don’t need to change at all. Or, we can decide we want to change. But not because society wants us to, because WE want us to! Whatever makes US happy. What a great New Year’s Resolution… or not! Happy New Year.

 

Header designed by Frankie Stevens

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Label Culture Editor 19-20

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