Opinion

Setting New Year’s resolutions is a fad that needs to end

New Year's resolutions have become a social norm in the lives of many Americans. Studies show that only 46 percent of people maintain their resolutions past 6 months, with 25 percent giving up in week one. 

Urban dictionary, the esteemed online dictionary, generally defines a New Year’s resolution as “a goal that you propose then forget the next day.” One definition goes into further detail, saying “[an] assessment of, and often delusional attempt to correct, one’s shortcomings; given the arbitrary nature of the date and the sudden change of lifestyle demanded by most resolutions, it should not be surprising that most resolutions are abandoned by the start of the next year [. . .]”

Early on, I began the New Year with the typical resolutions (the generic ones you are given in elementary school as an example that you keep using to fit your non-generic life): eat healthy, work out more and stay positive. Basically, I gave myself goals that were unattainable for the simple reason that once I failed at said goal, I could go back to my daily habits. A week into the New Year had me eating fistfuls of cookie dough out of the refrigerator instead of munching on anything green, and I was nowhere near a treadmill. Instead of trying to right myself back onto my new found way of life, I ditched the resolutions and went back to living my life. Hey, if what I was doing worked for 2014, it would work for 2015. And what I did in 2015, would work for 2016 (you get the picture).

I was in an endless cycle of bad resolutions and, frankly, bad attitudes as well. But then I realized something at the start of 2016. Resolutions don’t matter. Hear me out on this argument, as I’m sure your planner filled with daily tips to “drink more water,” “smile more often” and “go to the gym, NOW” begs to differ.

Resolutions don’t matter, because there is nothing about a difference in the ending number of a year to make you do something different. People always use the saying “new year, new me” when describing their New Year’s Resolutions, but why not “new month, new week, or new day, new me?” How come it takes 365 days to have people resort to changing their personalities for the better?

This is why I think resolutions don’t matter: There is nothing different about the upcoming 365 days and nothing new from the past 365 days you just experienced. A bit of a buzzkill, I know. But for the sake of the argument, there is also nothing different about the upcoming 30 days, seven days or one day and nothing new from the past 30 days, seven days or one day you just experienced. What is different is your mentality to increment every little thing and push yourself to make each thing better than the next. Why wait 365 days to become more positive or more proactive with homework, when you can start right now?

With second semester starting, everyone is prepared to make this semester better than the last (at least, I know I am). But I think one thing that stops students from accomplishing this goal is the second there is a slip-up, they stop. You don’t do the reading before discussion (hint: if you haven’t thought of a New Year’s resolution, or new semester resolution here is a good one) means “Well, I gave it a try, but who even does the readings?” Or you forget to smile at someone new while walking to class (hint: this is also a good resolution for those of you searching for something new to do), which has you thinking “Who smiles in negative 17-degree weather, people must have thought I was a creep.”

Hopefully, everyone appreciates the idea of a fresh beginning at the start of the New Year. But as a friendly reminder, you also get a fresh start each semester, month, week, and day. So if you don’t eat healthy today, there is always tomorrow to eat a salad.

Lilly is a sophomore majoring in communication arts and journalism. Do you set a New Year’s resolution? Do you often give up on your set goals? Do you think it’s worth setting a New Year’s Resolution? Let us know what you think. Please send all comments, questions and concerns to opinion@dailycardinal.com.

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