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Why I Chose Not to Make Resolutions This Year

Maybe it was just me, but 2020 went by fast and slow at the same time. The days were passing, yet it seemed like the hours dragged on due to the seemingly everlasting pandemic. I completely forgot about figuring out my New Year’s resolutions for this upcoming year. I realized that I forgot about them a couple of minutes before the end of 2020. I couldn’t do much at the time, so I thought I would think about it on New Year’s Day, which was a little untraditional for me, but I wanted to start 2021 without any worries.

The next day came and went, and almost a week passed before I realized that I still hadn’t thought about my goals for this year. I started to think about what I wrote down as my goals last year, how they went, how I felt about them, and the effects they had on my life. One prominent trend that I noticed was that I had completed most of my goals, but not to the extent that I wanted to and I wasn’t really satisfied with what I had done. 

Thinking more and more about this, I felt bad about the year 2020, even though I achieved and experienced so much. I was quickly losing the satisfaction I had with the year. The goals that I created the previous year didn’t account for the Coronavirus or starting college online. They were based on the understanding that 2020 would play out similar to 2019 and that the resolutions I had created would “help” me make the most of the year. 

I thought about this a lot more over the next couple of days. I looked at my resolutions from previous years and began to question if they actually made me feel better at the end of the year. I didn’t want to be limited and then eventually dissatisfied because of what I may or may not have done throughout the year. The conclusion that I came to was that I would try a new system, a different way of motivating myself to work smarter and harder. From now on, I am planning to continue to try various alternatives to New Year’s resolutions until I find the one for me. 

I think the biggest reason many people fail within the first month or so is because they want to achieve a completely different lifestyle, but they soon quit because it will take too much work, it isn’t happening fast enough, or their goals are no longer applicable to the situation they are in. Our understanding of these goals is that they will make us a whole new and improved person, and in doing so, we are giving the resolutions too much power— leading to, as I said above, many people quitting. 

I, like most people, do have the mindset of trying to better myself and “be the best version of myself,” so I am not going to give up on the idea of finding a replacement for these generic goals we create at the end of one year for the upcoming one. I don’t know exactly what my plan is this year, but I feel the difference between this year and previous years — there isn’t any stress or worry. 

My advice? If you want to do something, do it. If you want to get something, get it. You may get it quickly, or it may take some work— but you can create your own plan without the barriers that New Year’s resolutions present you. Make goals and be specific, but don’t give up if things change; adjust and adapt to the situation you are in and work from there. 

I’m not defining my year based on a shortlist of broad goals that I never revisit, and I suggest you don’t either. 

Mahati Shastry

Columbia Barnard '24

Mahati is a sophomore at Barnard who is excited to experience the wonder that is NYC. She loves reading, writing, and spending time outdoors. Even though she is just entering the Barnard family, she already feels like she’s at home. Currently, she is undecided but is very interested in political science and human rights. :)
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