A new year has arrived, and many of us have created goals to attain more satisfaction in life.
At first glance, New Year’s resolutions (NYR) appear as a positive approach to drive self-improvement. However, a NYR is a fleeting, cultural phenomenon, where resolutions are taken very lightly and are thus abandoned early into the new year. The NYR originates from ancient prayers and vows of piety after the onset of the new year. But as the NYR evolved from a religious expectation into a modern norm, people became lazier about pursuing these resolutions. Now, as few as 8% of people achieve their NYRs each year.
This could be explained by the absurdity of the NYRs, which often consist of poorly defined and lofty goals such as earning more money or losing weight (2017 Statista survey), as people fail to realize the complexities of their wishes. The seriousness of NYRs is further called into question as people choose the beginning of the new year, an arbitrary start date, to make a resolution. Why should someone intent on bettering themselves need the new year as motivation for a resolution?
For others, the NYR is only a declaration followed by little to no action such that it is more a means of maintaining social conformity, with no external repercussions for failing the resolution. Whereas those who succeed in fulfilling their NYRs put forth consistent effort and aim for gradual progress over time.
We Americans are a proud people, whose patriotism, individualism, competitiveness and achievement-driven mentality is as strong as any other society. In fact, people of all racial, religious, and cultural identities have fulfilled many arduous goals and resolutions in America. This characteristic zeal and vigor in American attitudes and actions can only suggest that we are passionate and capable of bettering ourselves when the situation demands it. Ironically, in an environment that encourages ambition and passion, the NYRs that are declared by many inspire very few to sincerely make good on their promises.
Next year, avoid the trouble of making a NYR. It is more effective to commence a resolution, no matter how trivial, immediately after the desire for a resolution surfaces into consciousness and pursue it with all the vigor and attention that one’s time allows until it has been fulfilled.