The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
Writing New Year’s resolutions can be a polarising topic. There are certainly legitimate arguments to be made for not writing them. Often, by setting resolutions you are setting yourself up for failure, or caving to societal pressures that ultimately won’t serve you. There’s also an unfortunate emphasis on diet culture around this time of year that
contributes to already unhealthy cultural messaging. I firmly believe that you should only make resolutions if they serve you.
However, I see value in making New Year’s resolutions for myself. Every year, I try to take the time to journal about how my year has gone, and then set a few goals to guide the new year.
I find that this helps me take time to sort through my priorities. Often, January is a busy time for me, a time where I lose sight of where I’m putting most of my energy. Taking the time to reflect through setting resolutions has allowed me to assess what’s really important to me. For instance, this year I identified that I would like to spend more time doing two things that make me happy: reading and running. I realised over the course of the last year that I am happier when I make the time to do these two things, and therefore want to prioritise them this year.
This method of writing down my resolutions also lets me go back and reflect on how my priorities have grown and changed throughout the years. It’s funny to look back at my 13-year-old self’s resolutions, and be reminded of when I cared about high jumping. I can laugh at how seriously I took it, but my journal is like a time capsule to my younger self. In the same entry, I have evidence of how my priorities have stayed the same in some areas.
13-year-old Maggie wanted to read more, and she also wanted to run more. I guess some things never change.
Looking at my past resolutions makes me proud when I can see that I accomplished at least some of them. My resolutions from a couple years ago include recommitting myself to my schoolwork, which I did. I have the ability to see how that resolution paid off. Even the smallest things can be counted as wins. In that same entry I wonder (painfully) wistfully if I’ll have a New Years party the next year. It took a few years, but eventually I did!
In addition, I can track how my outlook on life has changed through these resolutions. At the time of the schoolwork resolution, I can remember being really focused on getting into the most competitive university possible. This year, I can see now how my priorities have changed from that mindset. I find that I value a more well-rounded, less academic approach to university. None of my resolutions this year are even related to academic goals. I’ve found that I look forward to my resolution journal entries. I have chosen to view resolutions as a low-pressure assessment of my goals. If they ever stop sparking joy, then I think it would be best for me to stop doing them, because ultimately, they are for me. I think that the key to me enjoying resolutions is making them exclusively for my own benefit. Otherwise, they would cease to be useful.