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Why We Should Cancel New Year’s Resolutions

Every year we make these extravagant and over the top goals for the upcoming year so that when midnight hits on January 1, we magically become the version of ourselves we’ve always wanted to be (but who, for some reason, we could not be until that exact moment). We tell others — but more so ourselves — that when this new year starts we are going to start working out, eating healthier, being nicer to others, swearing out the toxic men in our lives, and living a more fulfilling life. The lingering question that COVID-19 has left in my mind is this: Why wait? 

If there's one thing I've learned from COVID-19, it’s that who we want to be is what we need to be now. Not tomorrow, not in the new year — today. We have too many unknowns and temporary circumstances in life to just be an okay version of ourselves that we hold onto until the clock hits midnight and we gain a false sense of a new beginning that only lasts about a month, until we give up on the gym and call our exes that we know we shouldn’t. While the idea of reinventing ourselves and goal setting is great and can be the boost that some of us need, I encourage you to start doing this more short-term. What happens if your resolution is to go to the gym, but by the time New Year's hits, we are entering into another shutdown? Wouldn’t you regret not going to the gym while you could? You don't need a new year to be a better you. Every day we wake up and have the chance at a new start — we just need to start realizing it. 

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The moral of this is not to cut out goal setting completely, but to turn your New Year's resolution into your resolution for today, and not a moment later. And once February hits and you’re ready to say “maybe next year” to the resolutions you want to give up on, as most of us do, remember how many things we said we would do in 2020 but never got the chance to do. In 2019, some may have given up on their goals at the gym, school or their sport, saying they would try again in 2020, just for all those opportunities to vanish with no warning once 2020 came around. Those people probably wish they appreciated their opportunities and utilized the time they had while they still had it. If there's a change you want to make in your life, roll with it while you can. Don't give up when it gets tough, because you never know when your chance will vanish. You never know how many chances at anything you really get, so do all the things you want to do while you still can. If you don’t start living every day like it’s your last day on Earth (or your last day before another COVID shut down), you are not living to your fullest potential.

Trading in your New Year's resolutions for short term goals can do nothing but help you. More often than not, New Year's resolutions lead to nothing but self-deprecating disappointment and the idea that you are incapable of accomplishing your goals, making the best version of yourself seem out of reach, unrealistic and impossible. Here's the secret: when you make a New Year's resolution that you want to accomplish by the end of the upcoming year, you have no idea how your circumstances are going to change within that time. You have no idea what obstacles will be put in your way that will put off your goal, so when the end of the year comes around, you feel disappointed in yourself for not following through with your goals. My New Year's resolution for 2020 was to lose 15 pounds, but when my gym shut down because of the pandemic, it made it extremely hard for me to do my normal workouts. Should I be disappointed in myself? No. Am I disappointed in myself? Also no. Because once I realized that when I set my 15-pound goal I did not expect a global pandemic to get in my way, I also realized that I needed to be more efficient and in the moment with my goal setting. I started setting weekly goals, because it's so much easier to predict the circumstances of your week rather than your year, and it adds time for reflection before you set your next goal. As humans, we change a lot. Our goals change, and what we want out of life changes as well. All we can do is wake up, live our best life every day, and hope for the best. So, to whoever is reading this, stop waiting. Today is a great day to start being the best you.

Abbi Donaldson is the President and Co-Campus Correspondent of the Her Campus UCF chapter. She is an advertising/public relations major with a creative writing minor. She specializes in content curation, poetry, blogging and ranting about Harry Styles.
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