Opinion: Resolutions and Realism in the New Year

New year’s resolutions may sound like a good idea, but often they can do far more harm than good.

Faith Miller, Staff Writer

The start of every new year is marked by resolutions. But often the goals that people set for themselves are unrealistic, falling through the cracks of busy lives even before January comes to an end.

The tradition of new year’s resolutions dates back to antiquity, and it’s likely the case that people have been breaking them since the custom arose. 

In our daily lives, we work, go to school, do extracurricular activities, and manage a multitude of other responsibilities. It’s almost impossible to add in another routine. Thus, it should come as no surprise that most of the time when people declare a resolution, they often fall through. 

Instead of aspiring for life-changing goals, we should aim for realism. For instance, instead of going to the gym every day, we could try going once a week with the hope of eventually building up to every day.

Goals, of course, aren’t bad. But the risk with lofty new year’s resolutions is the pressure that comes with them. When we face too much pressure, our fight-or-flight response kicks in, and often the challenge proves to be too much. We don’t always follow through. 

A common warning sign with new year’s resolutions often appears before the new year even starts.

Take the so-called “last meal,” an indulgence of the bad habit people plan to break the next day. For instance, when a person plans to stop smoking cigarettes for the new year, they will often have a few more packs than usual before January 1st.

Not only is this tendency dangerous, but it can also make the habit so much harder to quit. If we give our bodies so much of one thing and then drop it all the next day, it can cause the withdrawal symptoms to be more severe and increase the chance of a relapse.

Positive change in our lives is an admirable goal, but when we pack our goals into extreme resolutions, it can be exhausting and potentially unhealthy. 

So this year, instead of making outlandish resolutions that we know we can’t keep up with, let’s turn to smaller, more realistic goals that we know we can accomplish.