I’ll just get it out right at the beginning: I don’t care about New Year’s Eve. I hate all of the unnecessary pressure to do something fun to celebrate the end of one year and the beginning of the other, and I find the fact that its mascot is a baby to be deeply unsettling. I’m particularly unenthusiastic about this New Year’s Eve; 2015 wasn’t exactly my favorite year, and while I’m excited to get moving on 2016, its arrival is not something I feel the need to celebrate in some big way. And you know what I hate about New Year’s Eve most of all? I’ll give you a hint: it’s the headline of this article. You guessed it: I hate New Year’s resolutions.
It’s not that I think that there’s something inherently wrong with the sentiment of a resolution. In theory, it’s great to have plans and set goals for yourself at the beginning of the year. I used to wait until the start of the new year to start working out or dieting again, because if it was a ~*New Year’s resolution*~, I might actually do it. But, spoiler alert: it never actually changed anything. If I was willing to wait a few weeks for January 1st to arrive, I was probably going to be able to wait another 12 months for the next January 1st to arrive. That’s how laziness works.
And really, what goals are so lofty in the short term that I need to give them this High Honor of New Year’s resolution? I could resolve to be nicer to people, but we all know that I’m going to be just as sassy and physically aggressive toward the asshat blocking the subway door in the morning as I always am after two weeks of trying to be “nice.” I could resolve to being more open to potential relationships, but one bad date—which we all know will happen sooner rather than later, especially when you consider New York City’s unique ability to act as a petri dish for some of the most emotionally immature men in the world—will send me right back to my previously (and, at this point, justifiably!) picky ways. And I could resolve to eat fewer chicken nuggets, but…like…why? Why would I pretend to set goals for myself that I know from experience won’t actually see February, let alone the end of the year?
Because New Year’s resolutions make us feel like we’re actually going to do something right. By making a grand statement at the beginning of the year or declaring our intentions at what a lot of people believe to be a significant part of the year, we’re supposedly making that goal or that intention a law to abide by for the year. The idea of “there’s no time like the present” is bigger than ever at the beginning of the year—January 1st comes with this strong sense of a fresh start. All of this helps people forget that while, yes, it is the start of a new calendar year, it’s a day just like any other. You could make the same resolution on April 14th as you can on January 1st, and guess what? It’ll hold the same weight.
Like I said, I don’t mind the sentiment behind New Year’s resolutions. I don’t even really mind the ritual itself, considering it’s never going to go somewhere and disliking something on principle is probably a little bit silly. I just hate the frequent inaction that follows, both in myself and others. Goals only count if you actually set out to achieve them, and for longer than just a few weeks (though if your goal can be achieved in just a few week’s time, more power to you).
Alternatives to the New Year’s resolution? Set the goal as soon as you think of it. Actually act on your desires. Don’t wait until the new year to do things, don’t force yourself to set goals you have no intention of actually following up on just because you feel pressured to have a resolution to share with your family when they call you and interrupt your New Year’s Day hangover ritual.
And as for me? I got to work on my classic New Year’s resolution of losing weight months ago, so…yeah. I guess I’m just gonna go ahead and give myself a pat on the back. See you all in 2016!