Resolutions Shmesolutions

Phoebe Grinter – Columnist
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As the end of January is finally upon us, I decided to write about how I feel about new year’s resolutions.

Not only is 2020 a new year but it’s also the beginning of a new decade – the Roaring Twenties round two. But as with every new year comes the same old saying: ‘new year, new me’. People vow emphatically that this will be their year; they will change, they will succeed, they will thrive. What remains the same, however, is everyone’s resolutions. ‘I can’t drink I’m doing dry January’, ‘I can’t eat that I’m on a diet’, and ‘I can’t see you tonight I’m going to the gym’. 

Other than the fact that I cannot stick to them (my dry January lasted the whole of 3 days), this is exactly what I hate about new year’s resolutions: the fact that we use somebody else’s standards to influence our own. I love the idea of a new year being a fresh start with new possibilities for learning new things, for growth and opportunity. I am all for bettering myself and helping others better themselves, achieving goals and setting new ones. This is what life is all about for me. However, many peoples’ resolutions, my own included, are tainted by societal pressures and the opinions of others. I fall into the trap of being fuelled by someone else’s ideas of what the correct way of living is rather than creating resolutions based on myself and my own personal motives. 

Take dry January as an example. I vowed to myself, and mentioned to everyone I spoke to, that I would do dry January this year. But why? To look down on others as they are enjoying themselves while I sip on my lime and soda? To gloat that I am a picture of health, my body is a temple and they should be ashamed? To be stone cold sober and jealous of my friends enjoying cocktails? Why was I doing this thing that makes me miserable for a whole month? Instead of doing it for myself, I was doing it to outdo, compete with and impress others, which is not how it should be. 

If your resolutions are set solely for yourself, then I envy you and encourage you. But after my shameful attempt at dry January, I have decided that my resolutions for this year are to not be led by societal pressures or the opinions of others. Instead, I will set personal goals, and keep them personal. Where I failed even harder at dry January was in the fact that I told every man and his dog that I was doing it, so I couldn’t even sneak in a cheeky glass of wine in front of the telly without being reminded that I was meant to be staying sober. My goals will have personal motives, meaning I will challenge myself without societal pressure weighing on me to follow others or be in competition with anyone but myself. Although goals take time to achieve, and setbacks are inevitable, goals give us something to work towards achieving and the feeling when you do is incomparable. 

My goals, although not particularly life changing, will be things that will bring me happiness and gratitude in 2020. Having something to work towards and look forward to is what life is all about. Goals don’t have to be specific or outrageous, they just have to be yours and not someone else’s.