Why New Year’s resolutions are pointless
By Ayra Fouad, Staff Writer
Weeks before the Times Square ball drop, every Instagram caption seemed to take up some variation of, “New year, new me!” It’s a seemingly harmless and optimistic view of the future, but there’s an undeniable need to reinvent oneself that — when it comes down to it — is quite harmful. It is not reinvention that moves us forward, but growth.
A Stanford University study conducted by Hal Ersner-Hershfield, G. Elliot Wimmer and Brian Knutson, shows that our brain activity, when referring to our future selves, is the same as when we speak about other people.
We create a glorified version of ourselves in which we feel comfortable leaving all of today’s responsibilities and goals to. What we fail to recognize is that we won’t just wake up one day and be able to finish a novel, go to the gym, meal prep for the week, shower and get dressed for the day by 8 a.m.
We tell ourselves that tomorrow will be the day when we suddenly become more productive and the task becomes much easier. In our minds, the pile of dishes will always look too daunting to tackle when we continue to stack more dishes on top of each other in a tetris-like manner. There are two options here: either we can start now and get it done, or we put it off for tomorrow and keep building up the pile. The pile, however, will be as daunting as ever — that much won’t change unless we change it ourselves.
Ultimately, it’s unrealistic to think we can emerge on Jan. 1 as a brand new person. The key is to start small and start now.
The point is not to dishearten you or bash on your New Year’s resolutions. The point is to tell you that just because it’s a new year, it doesn’t mean you have to start everything now. Just because it’s a random Thursday in March, it doesn’t mean you can’t start something new.
Goal setting is healthy. It gives us a sense of direction and guides us. The key components of goal setting, however, are often unaccounted for. As mentioned before, in order to achieve the goals we set, we need to implement certain habits into our lives. In order to do that, we need to ensure we are in the right environment, which allows for the implementation of such habits.
As cliché as it may sound, it is important to brace ourselves for failure and learn from it rather than give up. It’s easy for us to assume when we fail that we’re not cut out for success. However, failure is where we find new solutions to different situations, giving us a deeper level of understanding than we previously had. The best way to approach failure is to accept it, figure out why something didn’t work and try again.
In this digital age, feigned success is a borderline epidemic. Every other person on our social media feeds seems to be successful and happy. While some probably are, we need to remember they’ve faced obstacles just like us and our failures do not equate to lack of success — it’s simply a part of it.
I’m not telling you to throw your New Year’s resolutions list into the recycling bin. What I am telling you is to actually pursue your goals and build healthy habits, no matter what day it is.