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Fact: You Don’t Have to Make a New Year’s Resolution

The concept of New Year's Resolutions has never sat quite right with me. In fact, when I think of the New Year I don’t see it as a time to set goals and change something about my life, but rather as a reminder of the year I’ve just had. When I was younger and asked “What are your New Year's Resolutions”, I would respond with common resolutions like exercising more or eating healthy, not because I actually planned to do this but because I felt like it was the normal thing to do. 

I can definitely see why millions of people make certain resolutions at the start of each new year. It’s viewed as an opportunity to reset; to start something, end something or change something about your life. If this type of goal setting works well for you and you are able to commit yourself to following through with your resolutions, I think that is extremely commendable! I personally feel that the concept of New Year's Resolutions puts way too much pressure on myself, no matter how “easy” the resolution is. 

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The years I’ve forced myself to try out this intention setting I’ve only felt disappointed with myself after failing to be consistent. The problem that I think I face is really with the language and the conceptualization of the “New Year” rather than the action of setting goals. For example, the resolutions you may have made at the start of 2020 are hence associated with the year 2020. So if or when you failed to follow through with your year’s intentions, it may have given you the sense that you’ve failed the year. This mindset is not only upsetting but demotivating! I’ve found it much easier to follow through with resolutions that have more abstract timeframes. Instead of creating a resolution for a specific year, creating a resolution in general - on any day of any year - might allow your mind to mentally accept hiccups in fulfillment and make it acceptable to start continuing your resolution back up when you are able.

The mind is an amazing tool and the ways in which it conceptualizes things can vary from person to person. One may understand the New Year to be the time when you begin anew, while another may understand the New Year as a milestone in time. However you conceptualize the New Year, just remember that you are no less capable of a person if you don’t have a list of New Year's Resolutions.  


Julia is a postgraduate student studying International Conflict Studies at King's College London. Originally from the Greater Boston area, she enjoys English weather but will always be a sucker for the cold, snowy winters and hot, humid summers of New England. She wouldn't mind spending her career behind a computer, whether researching and writing about past and present events in the international sphere, or writing more fun and creative lifestyle pieces.
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