Confessions of a 20-something #12

Graphic Jenny Kwan

Who actually came up with the bright idea of New Year’s resolutions? It seems resolutions are so bound to fail that when you make one, what you’re actually saying is “this is what I don’t want to achieve this year.”

I think the issue behind the idea of New Year’s resolutions is the hype behind it. It’s the emphasis and power we put behind the idea of setting these goals that ultimately scare us, and this fear and sense of feeling overwhelmed gets between us actually achieving the main goal.  We pump ourselves up, and set these huge goals leading up to Jan. 1, but if we strip it down, what difference is there between New Year’s resolutions and the small goals we set for ourselves throughout the year? None.

To say you’re going to completely switch around your lifestyle, quit a habit, or change a part of who you are at your core when the clock strikes midnight is ridiculous. You’re not only letting yourself down, but you are breaking yourself down in vain.

Life itself is a work in progress, and I think any major changes need to be made gradually. As a person, I am always trying to improve myself, in terms of my flaws and bad habits that affect my lifestyle or possibly those around me. Just stating that I am going to worry less in 2014, for example, won’t work for me. It’s about setting small goals on a weekly, maybe even daily basis. Whatever works for you.

I suppose the idea of a fresh new year, and a brand new calendar, seems like a good place to start on your brand new goal. However, I must say the timing itself is quite horrendous. Right after the sluggish holiday season we go back to work, school, and life as we know it; the post-holiday slump, as I like to call it. No wonder it’s so tough to keep resolutions, whether it’s to quit smoking or to lose weight.

The one thing, and possibly the only thing, that I admire about the idea of New Year’s resolutions is the ability to admit that change is needed. Change can be scary, and goals we set may sometimes seem so high that nothing on earth could give you the boost you need to reach up and grab them.

However, the very first thing needed in order to reach a goal or make a change is the ability to acknowledge that it needs to happen. It’s about putting yourself in the right frame of mind, and surrounding yourself with the right resources and people to help you achieve your goal. If this so happens to be in April, May, or June, then so be it.

If New Year’s resolutions work for you, then great. I am genuinely happy that you’ve found something that works. I personally just don’t bother getting caught up in the frenzy; I’ve always found it a lot more helpful to set small goals as they come. It’s kind of like a videogame, where all the small goals you’ve achieved provide you with the happiness and confidence points you need in order to grab onto life boosting, larger goals.

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