Ah, the New Year resolutions. They used to be a synonym for something new and exciting; a fresh start, a way to let go of the old, bad habits and start the new year right and how you always wanted it. But before we go into how many liters of water you should drink and what bad habits to let go of, are we really even sure what New Year resolutions really are?
History of New Year’s Resolutions
A New Year resolution is a tradition in which a person decides to start a new year by introducing positive changes into their lives, usually giving up bad habits, trying new things and inflicting an overall positive change in their lives. This concept dates back to Romans who began each year by making promises to the god Janus. In the medieval era, knights used to the same – made ‘promises’ to re-affirm their commitment to chivalry. However, New Year resolutions really became a ‘thing’ at the end of the Great Depression, where almost a quarter of Americans made them. They were mostly about common habits we find even in today’s resolutions - weight loss, starting new hobbies or quitting smoking.
That doesn’t seem so hard now, does it? Well, more often than not, these resolutions are very hard to achieve. To put it bluntly – we fail at them miserably. To be more accurate, 60% of people will make New Year’s resolutions, but only 8% will actually be successful in achieving them.
Not Resolutions – Goals
When we hear the term ‘resolution’, it kind of already puts a lot of pressure on us to make these grand changes that require a lot mental strength and dedication. Maybe it’s time to retire the term ‘resolutions’ and start calling them for what they really are – goals. New Year’s goals, a fresh start. But the reason why resolutions in most cases don’t really work is not because of the misuse of terminology, but because these goals are not SMART. They are not specific, measurable, achievable, realistic or time-based. Well, sorry to get all business-school on you, but this is actually the fundamental problem when writing New Year’s resolutions. We opt out for these big changes right off the start, desperate to see results as soon as possible which inevitably results in failure and sometimes, even, self-loathing. New Year, New Me concept, as Michelle Ruiz put it – “is exhausting”. In her Vogue article, she suggested far more appropriate phrases such as “Marginally Happier You? New Year, Incrementally More Hydrated You?”. Well, that’s more like it. All jokes aside, we should be taking far smaller steps in our goal-achieving 2022, and celebrate little victories each day that will motivate us to keep up and eventually turn to bigger goals.
So, instead of giving you those cliché and unrealistic resolutions, we’ve compiled a list of those that are much easier to achieve, however they are still part of a bigger goal that you can eventually continue to. Or not, who cares hun.
1. Start Saying ‘No’ More VS. Saying ‘No’ to Going Out When You Don’t Feel Like It
We’ve heard the one about saying no far too many times. And yes, it is a great resolution and a great goal to practice every day for the rest of your life. However, what does that really include? We’re a little reluctant to jump and say “whatever you feel you should say ‘no’ to” because it is too generic and not always the right strategy. You can’t really say “You know what? I say ‘no’ to work today.” Or “I say ‘no’ to this dirty pile of dishes that has been soaking in the kitchen for the past three days (sorry, we wish). Instead, let’s practice saying ‘no’ to a specific aspect of our lives, such as to going out just because it’s s weekend, or because you need to get out of the house. Staying in is absolutely fine, if not even desirable during these crazy times.
2. Cut Down on Social Media VS. Reduce the Social Media Screen Time
This is always an easy failure. Cut down on social media – entirely? Once a week? Don’t scroll Instagram when trying to fall sleep. All of these are great examples, but if you don’t choose one or two specific ones, you are likely to forget about this goal within days. Even worse, you’ll set a goal so unrealistic that not only will you fail at it, but feel terrible about not succeeding. If you’re an IG mogul and know you can’t really live without social media, well guess what – you don’t have to. Tell yourself you won’t go on Instagram after 8pm but instead indulge in other forms of entertainment such as a good book, your favorite tv show or a game night with your partner or friends.
3. Launch a Business VS. Start That Hobby You Always Wanted
Since the beginning of the pandemic and the emergence of work-from-home way of life, there has been a rise of entrepreneurial activity in the past two years, especially in the online space. That is why we weren’t surprised to see many of the 2022 resolutions be ‘launching a new business’. That seems a bit scary if you ask us. Should your goal be to start a new business even if you don’t have a right idea yet? Or funding? These unrealistic goals will not only make you depressed, but also question your abilities that we are certain you have plenty of. To avoid such dark and untrue thought, replace the word ‘business’ with the word ‘hobby’. Hobbies sound much more relaxing and fun and what do you know – they might even turn into a business.
4. Don’t Gossip VS. Don’t Judge People You Know Very Little About
Don’t gossip was another big one. Be kind, give compliments, don’t gossip, it’s not cool. Yes, we know, and if we lived in a perfect world of rainbows and unicorns then we wouldn’t even have the term in our dictionaries. It is hard to never ever engage even in a little bit of a gossip, and listen, if you are one of those who never gossips then kudos to you and please proceed to the resolution no. 5! For the rest of us sinners, let’s take it down a notch and promise ourselves we don’t judge those we know little about. Everyone has their own battles to fight, and without walking in someone’s shoes, you can’t really draw any valid conclusions.
5. Avoid Negative People VS. Avoid People Who Complain
Negative people – um, that could be easily be up to 10 people in the office on a Monday morning, and all of the family during holiday dinner with questions like “You should be thinking about marriage”. Since we can’t magically avoid so many people (*cries*) we need to focus on those negative traits that bring us the most harm. Well, and at least for us, the first on the lists are The Complainers. Always unhappy about everything and convinced they have it the worst, complainers can really affect your mood and how you feel and easily bring you down with them. Avoid them at all costs.
6. Spread positivity VS Be Kind on Social Media
Again, you can promise yourself you’ll spread positivity more, but if you don’t know specifically when and where, how are you even going to do so? Since online space has become the most common place for bullying and hate speech, it is time for one New Year’s resolution to be spreading kindness on social media. This doesn’t necessarily mean your friends and family (to whom you should always be kind anyway) but more to random strangers that might need it and whom you might even end up brighten up the day. Careful though, we said kind, not creepy. It’s a fine line.
7. Improve Your Skincare Routine VS Don’t Squeeze That Pimple
Sometimes, our New Year goals should be simple and easy. Improving skincare routine always used to required buying new ‘in’ products and promising yourself to get facials twice a month. Well, it doesn’t always need to be as demanding and pricey as that. Start with something free and easy – don’t pop your zits. Just don’t. There is not a single proof in the entire universe where popping zits and pimples made things better. Ok, give yourself a time-based goal – don’t touch your face for two weeks, then increase the duration. You’re welcome! Oh, and if you’re one of those that don’t touch their faces, well, then you don’t need NY resolutions because you are a sorcerer.
We are firm believers of a slower but with-higher-chance-of-success approach in life generally, thus our resolution list is also complied of smaller, and maybe not even life-changing goals. Nevertheless, we also believe than any kind of success is better than any kind of failure, so once you live up to these smaller and easier resolutions, it will be easier to build on it and reach for the stars.
If not, you can always be like Bill Sanders who, when asked about his New Year’s resolution and unlike the others who talked about quitting smoking and finishing high school, said - he wanted to make people wake up to the radical change need in society.
And you go do that. And we cheer for you.