Fuck New Year’s Resolutions

Image credit: @florencegiven

Once the novelty of not knowing what day of the week it is wears off and we return to the sobering reality of tinsel-free desk jobs and to-do lists, the pressure to make yet another unachievable list of resolutions can be as anxiety-inducing as a Christmas lunch spent with family members that can’t accept that you’re (still) single.

Personally, I’ve come to the realisation that New Year’s resolutions are an overrated mess. Do you know how many resolutions I managed to accomplish last year? One or two. The rest amounted to nothing more than pitifully proud scrawlings that take up space in my diary, glaring at me with contempt.

We need to remember that the Kardashian Empire wasn’t built in a day – Kris has BEEN at it.

And it’s not just me that “failed”. Research shows that while around 60% of us make New Year’s resolutions, only 8% of us actually achieve them. In fact, most of us will have completely forgotten about them after just one month. And that’s precisely why I won’t be making any this year.

Image credit: @browniepointsforyou

So what’s our deal with New Year’s resolutions anyway? Why do most of us suck at accomplishing them? Partly because most of us are only making them because everyone else is, and partly because resolutions are far too often vague AF. “Get fit”, “read more”, “learn a language”, “go on an overseas trip” – these are all good and well in theory, but in reality they’re like a dude that acts like your boyfriend but says he isn’t ready for a relationship. It’s just not going to happen.

I think in the hype of making resolutions, we tend to forget that the Kardashian Empire wasn’t built in a day – Kris has BEEN at it. Similarly, getting fit, reading more, learning a language, going overseas, etc. are all things that require incremental action in order to be achieved. Like Kris, you need to have a game plan if you’re going to get anything done.

Rituals are like the cool cousins in the extended family of resolutions.

As stand-alone points on a list that probably won’t see the light of day until the same time next year, resolutions can be gargantuan and intimidating. However, with consistent effort throughout the year they soon begin to tick themselves off. And that’s where rituals come in.

Rituals are like the cool cousins in the extended family of resolutions. They’re the ones you actually want to spend time and energy on because, well, they’re cool like that. They don’t judge you once a year. They comment fire emojis on your IG posts year-round. They show you TikToks because you’re an outdated millennial that craves relevance – okay you get my drift.

Rituals are friendly, approachable, and sustainable. They’re the daily doings that naturally amount to more books read, fitness levels improved, and money saved for an overseas trip at the end of the year. Rituals break up big goals into bite-sized bits so that the only thing you’ll be choking on this time next year is your grandma’s inability to withhold her farts and problematic opinions during Christmas lunch.

Here are some of my failed resolutions from 2019 and how I’ve transformed them into achievable rituals I know I can (probably) commit to in 2020:

Specific, Susan. That’s how we have to be if we’re going to get any of this ambitious shit done in 2020. Because, let’s face it, most of us are fucking lazy. And that’s okay, because most of us are fucking busy too.

We’re all just trying to tend to the ever-mounting list of demands we’re already subscribed to, so it’s no wonder that throwing in non-specific monolithic resolutions sans a plan of action so often ends in failure. Don’t beat yourself up.

If you’ve made resolutions already, just ritual-fy them. Figure out how you can break up your long-terms goals into little actions that can easily fit into your existing daily/weekly/monthly schedules. And if you don’t want to make any plans for the future right now, then that’s fucking fine too. Time is a social construct that exists only because humans created it.

Set rituals whenever you want. It’s your wonderful life and the last time I checked there are eleven other months in the year for you to reflect on how far you’ve come and how far you want to go. Baby steps amount to big people strides eventually. Just keep stepping.

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