Should you make New Year’s resolutions?

With the apocalyptic start of a global pandemic, social protesting movements for equality, governmental conflict, environmental changes, etc.—it’s safe to say 2020 was not a year anyone was expecting. At the start of a new year, a well-known custom people have is to make New Year’s resolutions. This can include anything from exercising more and eating healthier, to picking up a new hobby and becoming the best version of yourself. But is setting unrealistic long-term resolutions the best way to enter the new year?

The last thing people need is more pressure on their shoulders to complete a set of plans that are nonviable.

According to U.S. News & World Report, 80 percent of people fail to complete their New Years’ resolutions and most abandonments happen by mid-February. 

The issue with these goals is how enduring they are. If last year has taught me anything, it’s that life has its unexpected twists and turns that we simply cannot account for. Setting large intentions will increase your chance of never completing them because, for many people, change will always seem scary. 

Many also believe that if you put a thought out into the universe, it would simply come true, which is entirely false. Knowing your limits is important and having the mindset of starting today instead of tomorrow is something many people don’t think about. Without putting in the work, any achievements you want to make will never happen.

The word itself has a psychological meaning. “Resolution” sounds strong, demanding and something we think there is no space for failure. Yet this failure happens much more often than we’d imagine. With the desperation of wanting to check off a task comes the feeling of being overwhelmed and stressed. Putting unnecessary weight on yourself isn’t beneficial to your health and should not be endured to make yourself “better.”

At this point, it can also be said that some people may feel obligated to set resolutions because of the influence others have. People want to have a sense of success in their life, which ultimately represents a cliche. 

I am not the kind of person to know what I want in an entire year but I can acknowledge that there is nothing inherently wrong with setting resolutions. People might use their objectives as motivation and a way to improve themselves. My ultimate issue is how unrealistic most goals are. 

For people who want to still set goals for themselves, I recommend thinking on a smaller scale. Setting daily intentions or small reliable targets daily that can help you in the long run. For example, instead of saying “I want to read 50 books this year,” try breaking it down into what you would need to do daily to achieve your goal. It can be something as simple as taking ten minutes out of your day to focus on reading. This way, the small changes you want to make will slowly seep into your daily routine, without making you feel overwhelmed.