Each year, we count down the seconds until a year with a different number on the end of it unfolds for us. In principle, there is nothing different about the next minute than the minute preceding it; in some ways, New Year should be highly anticlimactic. Yet, somehow, it isn’t.
Alongside this tradition of counting down, we also make a tradition of ‘New Years Resolutions’; things we are determined to change or achieve in this year. It could be questioned that if these things meant so much to us, why didn’t we amend them earlier in the year? Nothing technically was stopping us. Yet there is something more concrete with more drive behind it to making a New Years Resolution than a mid-year resolution.
To want to be the best version of you that you possibly can be is intrinsically human. It’s our nature to grow and change and evolve; humanity frankly wouldn’t survive without this! A lot of the biggest changes that we make in our lives aren’t made on pieces of paper as we start a New Year; most of the time, to be frank, they happen without you really realising. For example, I am a far happier person right now than I was this time last year. It’s not due to a big decision I made “To Be Happier”, and even with retrospect I can’t pinpoint what’s made me a happier person. I just know I am, and it’s because of this that the decisions I now make are stronger, bolder and more confident than ever before.
Everybody wants to change who they are, but at the same time be accepted by others – it’s a great contradiction of humanity, in my opinion. People may disagree with me on my opinion next, and that’s also OK; but I personally feel that it’s this great contradiction that makes New Years Resolutions our best friends really when it comes to changing your life. Fear of rejection (be it through change or otherwise) is certainly a strong thing I live with; but for some reason, making those changes in your life in January gives you almost an excuse to change, and therefore is widely accepted by others. It’s almost a safety net to the fear of lack of acceptance. My opinion of this is backed up by my knowing numerous people who said they were turning vegetarian, but genuinely kept eating meat right up until midnight on the 31st December – they were able to change when the New Year came around.
There is also the (much less philosophical) argument that by having a set date to change, it lets great procrastinators put off having to change and amend their lives for as long as possible. Cue me awkwardly put my hand up here; every year I say I’ll eat less junk food, and by Day 2 I am craving chocolate again. I doubt that me ‘stocking up’ on junk food up till then actually makes the matter easier for me! It goes without saying that it’s these people (which yes, I do somewhat fit into) who probably only go along with New Years Resolutions for tradition’s sake, and frankly in their heart of hearts know that by March a lot of these ideas will be dead in the water.
I believe though, that these Resolutions last longer than any others we do make (take that as either a positive or a negative) because of how everybody makes them. Because everyone around you is also making Resolutions and trying to stick to them, it inspires you to do the same – in a way that making them in October probably wouldn’t.
Whatever the reasoning behind it, I think Resolutions are in some ways a very empowering and great thing. They are never negative; they are always full of strength, hopes and dreams. It gives you an idea of what humanity could actually have the potential to be one day, and how far we all dream, and the dream that if you try hard enough, you may just succeed. It’s fascinating how despite these plans frequently going down the pan, we bounce back to them every year, because humanity is, in the end, a positive and hopeful force.
Once, of course, we shut down Netflix and put that bag of iced buns away.