Sports Editor Claire Thomson discusses why we don’t need to worry about becoming the best version of ourselves every January.
It’s that time of year again, when we all wave goodbye to the past 12 months and open ourselves up to whatever lies ahead of us. For some, it is a time to reflect on highs and lows and set goals for the upcoming year, whereas for others it’s just another day on the calendar. A day to spend having fun with friends and family, and the beginning of writing the wrong number on the date for the next month or so. New Year’s resolutions have long been a tradition of the festive season with the new-year-new-start mindset leading the way. However, recently, many now argue that this has become a cliché and have tarnished the whole idea with negativity. After another difficult year of dipping in and out of Covid restrictions we all want to see change in some shape or form in 2022, but are New Year’s resolutions truly the way to move forward and make this difference?
"After another difficult year of dipping in and out of Covid restrictions we all want to see change in some shape or form in 2022, but are New Year’s resolutions truly the way to move forward...?"
Every year, we tell ourselves that this is going to be our year. Gym membership sales soar in the first few weeks of January, fruit and veg flies off the shelves, and the streets are filled with enthusiastic joggers as we attempt to better ourselves once and for all. However, come March time, the gyms are more often than not empty again and people have moved on with their lives as if their New Year’s resolutions didn’t even exist. January is as good a time as any to kickstart some good, healthy habits but that doesn’t mean that it is the only time or the right time for you personally. It’s a new year but for lots of us that is where the “new” stops. Our academic years begin in August or September, sporting seasons rarely run from January to January, the financial year restarts in April, and jobs and careers can begin and end at any time. We don’t need the New Year to turn our lives around when we have the same opportunities to do so 365 days a year. A lot has already happened in the past 12 months, and we should be taking this New Year as a chance to look at how much we’ve battled through and developed as people, rather than constantly seeking change and the desire to better ourselves.
"We don’t need the New Year to turn our lives around when we have the same opportunities to do so 365 days a year."
It’s not necessarily the resolutions themselves that are the issue; it’s the pressure that we put on both ourselves and others to create and stick to them. As children, we were always asked to write about our resolutions at primary school and the expectation was put on us by society that we had to change something in our lives to make them better, as if they weren’t good enough already. As an adult you realise that this is not the be-all and end-all, yet so many of us still feel obliged to set some resolutions on the off chance that they might stick. We shouldn’t be made to feel like we have to change something every New Year, however I do believe that it is important to set some personal goals for the year. New Year's resolutions are often generic and unspecific to your circumstances but having a goal for the year gives you something more specific to work towards that doesn’t need to be constantly thought about as well as having plenty of time to achieve it. It’s easier to take breaks, and make adjustments to whatever the aim is, and there’s less pressure to succeed in a narrow timeframe.
Of course all of this isn’t to say you shouldn’t make some New Year’s resolutions but if you do, go easy on yourself. Set some realistic goals and habits that you can incorporate easily into your lifestyle without adding too much additional stress or pressure. It’s important to remember that every little helps and even if you’re not 100% successful in maintaining your habits, it’s never too late to try again or start something new.
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