Same Old New

I’m going to lose weight. I’m going to stop procrastinating. I’m going to learn a new language. I’m going to pick up rock-climbing as a new hobby. Whatever your New Year’s resolution is, and whether you admit it or not, you’ve at last subconsciously created one for yourself, it’s always some way that you want to do to improve yourself. We’re all human, and so we’re never going to be perfect, but it’s an unspoken rule that only the self-righteous and lazy don’t at least try.

However, this idea of a “New Year’s Resolution” is ludicrous. Sure, on paper it sounds wonderful. New year, new me. A fresh start. The perfect chance to do something I’ve always wanted to do. The thought of it gives us a rush of motivated adrenaline. But, come one. Be honest with yourself. You’re not going to follow through on any of those goals. No one ever does.

When tested, it was recorded that only about 8% of new year’s resolutions are successful. That means that in the entire US, only about 11,120,000 people will keep their resolutions, or the city of New York. One city. Chances are, that isn’t going to include you.

But you know what? This lack of determination to flip a switch and become a changed person isn’t what actually bothers me about the idea of new year’s resolutions. What really bothers me is the fact that so many seem to think they can shut their eyes and spin around three times and wake up as someone brand new because this is a new year. This is a grossly unrealistic expectation to be made of anybody. Change is gradual, it happens over time. And why we all decide to change just because it’s a new year baffles me. A year is a circle, there is no significance between one day and the next. January first will only be important because we’ll stop writing a 6 and start writing a 7 when sheets of paper require a date. This is only a way to mark the passage of time. You know, that thing where one day turns into a new day, and eventually months turn into new months, and seasons circle from winter into spring into summer into autumn. Why is January first special? Because it’s a new year.

If you feel a need to change something about your lifestyle, you should do it. If you think something will make your life better, you should implement it. You should not put it off until a specific date because you like the idea of a “new year.” Fresh starts happen whenever you decide they happen. Waiting for some magical new day is impractical. For some it’s even worse, an excuse to continuously procrastinate. Any way I look at it, excuse or false hope or almost certain disappointment, a new year’s resolution is the wrapping paper left behind by Christmas: all pretty and shiny and dressed up, but completely useless after the high of the holiday has passed.

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