More on New Year Resolutions

Posted: December 29, 2011 in General Musings, Holidays
Tags: , ,

I mentioned in passing in my last post that I don’t believe in New Year resolutions, and I’ve been thinking about what that means since then. I’d like to clarify exactly what it is I don’t believe in: that it must be done on one certain day (or thereabouts) of the year.

Resolution, in my opinion, is a good thing. Identifying, setting, and resolving on a goal you think is important to achieve is commendable. We’re all flawed and we can all improve ourselves in some way, right? And, it just feels really good to set out to do something and actually do it. I set goals for myself all the time. I meet some of them, and not others. Even just in the past month I’ve shared a couple of goals and my successes and shortcomings with them. So what’s my issue with New Year resolutions?

I don’t see the connection between setting any old goal and doing it on the day that a certain calendar system recognizes as the beginning of a new orbit around the sun. Why wait? Why not just set the goal when you decide it’s important enough to achieve? And if what you’re waiting for to start working toward a goal is a day on the calendar that has no actual relation to the goal itself, is that goal really that important to you?

But, it’s tradition, right? It’s fun, right?

Many people do not keep their New Year resolutions. In fact, not keeping New Year resolutions is probably as popular a pastime as setting them. These seem like strange traditions to keep, and they don’t really fit with my idea of fun. Why would you set a goal that you otherwise might not have set, only to fail at it and feel like a failure? Alternatively, why would you set a goal that you might not otherwise care about only to keep from feeling like a failure if you don’t reach it?

That’s not to say that New Year doesn’t inspire people to a fresh start. “This is the year that I’ll finally do that thing I always wanted to do!” I get that some people need an outside impetus to kick-start them into action—in this case, a kind of sibling to nostalgia. If you achieve what you set out to do because of a factor that has nothing to do with what you’re actually trying to do, more power to you! It’s something to celebrate whenever a substantial goal has been reached.

But I don’t understand the connection setting a goal and having to set it on a day that has nothing to do with that goal. How’s that for being a wet blanket?

Happy New Year, everyone!

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