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You Haven’t Made Any New Year’s Resolutions Yet? Here Is Why You Are Not Too Late.

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.

“Stormy or sunny days, glorious or lonely nights, I maintain an attitude of gratitude. If I insist on being pessimistic, there is always tomorrow. Today I am blessed.”

Maya Angelou (2008). “Letter to My Daughter”, p.32, Random House

I’ve always really liked the idea of a ‘New Year’s resolution’ – it always feels right to start a New Year with hope. Hope and gratitude are what a New Year’s resolution is. Just as Angelou says, it is important to maintain “an attitude of gratitude”. It really doesn’t matter what the content of the resolution is, per se, just that you are able to exercise both gratitude and hope.

This is something that ought to be practised every single day of every single year, and so the idea of setting these intentions for each ‘trip around the sun’ has a sort of beautiful and hopeful symmetry. 

However, if you have missed the turn of the year to set out your hopes and wishes for 2022, it’s totally fine. The New Year is such a busy time (seeing family and friends and the inevitable week-long hangover from Christmas) that it is difficult to allow yourself the time to reflect and set some intentions for the year ahead. 

But, do not fret! A New Year’s resolution is so personal that it doesn’t matter that you’ve ‘missed’ January 1st. 

An issue that we increasingly encounter is the societal pressure to set New Year’s resolutions to change ourselves for the ‘better’. Instead, it is more empowering to try to make New Year’s resolutions that are personal and will encourage you in the coming year. Here are some I have had in the past: 

  • Continue to learn more about myself
  • Continue finding something each day to make me smile
  • Focus more on the present, not the past – it doesn’t help anyone

I am sure I am not the only person who has resolutions that ‘roll’ over into future years. This is absolutely fine! Goals like ‘eating healthy’ and ‘reading each week’ are not limited to the New Year. I think we should change the question we ask each other on January 1st from “What are your New Year’s resolutions?” to “Are you setting any new intentions for this year?”. This means we are not confining our goals to any fixed point in the year, and placing unnecessary pressure on ourselves. Our resolutions are an ongoing process, in the same way that life is a continuous (and sometimes turbulent) journey.

Rather than setting unrealistic goals that feel like they have to be completed by the end of January, I engage in an open and ongoing conversation with myself throughout the year (and beyond). Because of this, I am (I like to think) more in tune with what I want, need and deserve. 

Therefore, it is never too late to make New Year’s resolutions. In fact, if you think the way I do, you have a whole year to make, keep and change your resolutions.

Activity:

Estimated time length: 5 minutes.

If you haven’t already, set some intentions for 2022. Try to think of things that you wish you had done in 2021 and also consider everything you have achieved in the past year and how you can replicate these achievements in 2022. 

I recommend writing these down on a piece of paper, in a notebook that you keep close, or in a familiar place, such as a diary. This way you can read over your goals again in 2023 and reflect on the year. Some people also like to put their New Year’s resolutions in their Christmas tree box so that when December rolls around they get a nice little surprise.

Examples:

I want to stay in tune with my newly found love of nature and try to find new places each week to enrich myself.

I want to recognise all of the academic achievements I have made this year and, in 2022, continue to grow and learn.

This article is part of a themed week to commence the term at UOB Her Campus, focused on all things fresh, new and inspiring to kick off 2022.

Annabel Spink

Bristol '23

Second year Religion and Theology student who's obsessed with writing and reading. An absolute lover of stories, the colour green, and finding magic in the mundane.
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