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Passing on New Year’s resolutions

The only time I got close to fulfilling a New Year’s resolution was going six months without soda. I was offered some Cola and caved.

But of course, I wasn’t the only one right?

As the new year comes, so do resolutions. However, these meaningful aspirations quickly stop serving as motivation to do or be better, but rather become more bullet points that haunt you to check them off on a list. It’s less of, “I should do this to improve!” and more of, “I have to do this because I can’t back out.” We’ve all ditched our goals at some point, and found ourselves becoming disappointed and feeling like a failure. The thing is, if you want to become a better version of yourself, you don’t need to wait until Jan. 1. The speciality of this date can easily pass as overrated; creating a road toward refinement is just as meaningful when started in May 18th or Oct. 3.

New Year goals are pressuring. The weight of accomplishing these tasks are much heavier opposed to making them on any other day. This tradition, which is meant to be a reflection of our lives and what we can do to better it, quickly turns into one that is rather dreadful. It is effortless to create a nagging and negative voice in our heads, which is enhanced when reminded that you will only be good enough if you change. When we make basic mistakes in trying to achieve our resolutions, the guilt is far more worse. We set ourselves to impossibly high standards, and forget to forgive ourselves of small slip-ups.

Sometimes, we aren’t ready to commit to a long-term change when the clock strikes 12… and no one should make you feel bad about that.

This isn’t a black and white situation. You are not limited to two options: dedicating yourself to a year-long change or doing nothing at all. Our path to betterment can’t magically appear once New Year’s comes. We must allow ourselves to understand that if we have no true intention to make a change, we just won’t do it. And being forced into doing it certainly won’t help, and only creates resistance. The rushed and angsty environment of New Year’s rarely allow for a through planning for your desired change, and often leads to making one without realizing how to do it or if you even can.

So while the custom of making resolutions was intended to be one that enables people to step back and reevaluate the conditions of their lives and what they can do to improve it, the aftereffects aren’t always rewarding. We don’t need to rush the process of change, it can naturally come. And when it does, we will feel ready for it.

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