New Year’s resolutions create a misleading sense of hope in the goal-setting process. Photo [CC BY-NC-ND 2.0] by Marwa Morgan.
Fountain Valley High School

Opinion: The misleading perception of the New Year’s resolution

The moment the ball drops and the clock strikes midnight, people around the world have a sudden desire to change their lives, known as the New Year’s resolution. But the truth is, New Year’s resolutions are misleading and we shouldn’t wait until Jan. 1 to better ourselves.

There’s nothing wrong with making yearly goals. But a problem arises when people put aside their goals in hopes that they’ll magically get the courage to better themselves on Jan. 1.

The new year creates a false sense of reality and security, simply because we’re turning a page on the calendar. A once pursuable goal months before January has now gone to waste with a lack of motivation and commitment.

Instead of choosing to act on goals the moment it was thought of, motivation has already been lost just from waiting for the new year to start your goal. In addition to this, setting up too many goals at the beginning of the year may be overwhelming and cause even more motivation to go to waste. People struggle to keep up with a failure-tainted and misguided goal caused by the external pressure of having to keep and maintain their New Year’s resolutions.

These external pressures are best shown in the overt commercialism of the new year, as businesses push products emphasizing the “new year, new me” complex. Companies market towards our willingness to improve ourselves, causing a sense of false hope for consumers and millions of dollars for corporations.

Another problem arises when people rely on the new year to strip away their old mistakes and start a new slate. Although 2020 is a year we all want to forget and move on from, there are still valuable lessons we can learn from.

We shouldn’t simply let go of our wrongdoings and mistakes just because it’s a new year. Our past failures are essential to the learning process coming into a new year. A New Year’s resolution to suddenly better ourselves isn’t going to make up for the mistakes we made in the previous year, and we shouldn’t rely on the perception of New Year’s resolutions to become better people.

The reality is that we shouldn’t wait for a single day out of the year to set goals for ourselves. Becoming a better person, whether for yourself or for others, isn’t something we should just wait idly by to do. The goal-setting and goal-achieving process should be ongoing and reflective, not just a wishful thought you hold onto for a month.

If you truly want to succeed in your goals, you need to commit the time and effort. One method, known by the acronym SMART, is an effective way to plan goals and achieve them.

In order for your goals to prosper, make sure your goals are SMART: specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and timely. You should create thorough plans for each of your goals, manage your time well and avoid the blights of procrastination and absences of motivation.

If you truly want to set your mind to a goal — and achieve it — don’t just wait until Jan. 1. Don’t waste your time waiting until Jan. 1 to begin your goal, and then suddenly perish in procrastination and doubt for the first month of the year.

Start your goals whenever you have the motivation to. Stick to them and don’t succumb to the false perception of the New Year’s resolution.