Gratitude Over Resolutions: Should We Change The Way We View New Year’s?

By Erykah Cameron

As we start January it’s ‘new year, new me’ time, but maybe this year we should look at things a little differently and take a new approach to the old tradition of new year’s resolutions. There is so much pressure from social media, other people, and often ourselves to be perfect all of the time anyway, that the pressure to start each year with a whole new mindset gets forgotten about. However, when we think about it, this pressure is completely unnecessary. A lot of the time, this pressure is meant to be motivating, but for a lot of people it can be more toxic than anything. It can make us feel like this year’s version of us wasn’t enough, and that we need to change for the benefit of ourselves and others. In reality, we’re more than likely just fine as we are, but we give into the pressure because we’re so used to the tradition of setting strict ‘resolutions’ that we often don’t realise that we really don’t have to.

I used to set myself new year’s resolutions every year without fail, and they were all things that I don’t even really enjoy doing, but that I thought would make me a better person. I never shared them with anyone, but I still felt so bad if I didn’t achieve them (and I often didn’t). However, last year, I set myself some more reasonable goals rather than strict resolutions, because I didn’t feel like I needed to resolve anything. Instead, I had some ideas of things that I’d like to have done by the end of the year, but also that wouldn’t be the end of the world if I didn’t get around to doing.

I made these goals less about me superficially, and more about the things that I wanted for myself. I wrote them down and put them away for the whole year. After looking back at them recently, I was surprised to realise that I’d managed to achieve them all, and I felt great when I re-read them! I think this was mainly because they were things that I knew I wanted to do, and so I didn’t have to look at them every day and force myself to work towards achieving them. I used them more as a guide for my year, and as a way to track my progress in things that I was already working towards. I also found them so much easier to achieve and felt so much better when I did, compared to if I’d set myself unrealistic resolutions based on what I thought I should be doing, not what I actually wanted to do.

“rather than setting ourselves up to fail with harsh resolutions that are almost impossible to achieve, we should be kinder to ourselves”

My experience with resolutions last year taught me that, rather than setting ourselves up to fail with harsh resolutions that are almost impossible to achieve, we should be kinder to ourselves, and try to make our new year’s goals more realistic. I think we should look deeper than dieting and exercise and instead set goals which we know will make us happier. As big or small as our goals are, I’m a true believer in manifesting our own happiness. So, if we are focused on more positive and reachable goals, then they’re more likely to be achieved!

I think it’s important to also say that it’s okay to not set any goals or resolutions at all. In fact, maybe that’s the way to go. The constant pressure to always better ourselves can be so intense and overwhelming; maybe we need to just focus on who we are and what we’re doing now, rather than always thinking of what we can do better. It’s perfectly okay to live in the moment, rather than planning your year out entirely before it has even begun. Ultimately, everything happens for a reason, and nothing is set in stone; sometimes flexibility allows for more growth than rigid plans, because who knows what’s around the corner.

So, this new year, maybe have a think about what you want for yourself in 2022, but don’t worry too much about making any grand announcements of your goals, or about sticking to them religiously. I think it’s safe to say that you’ll be fine both with, or without them.  

Image courtesy of Kelly Sikkema via Unsplash