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Hot Take: New Year’s Resolutions Are BS

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Wisconsin chapter.

Call me crazy, but I’ll still be the same person at midnight

The phrase “New year, new me,” has probably been repeated as many times as old proverbs at this point. It’s used in reference to the concept of New Year’s resolutions, where people resolve, or vow, to make a positive change in themselves or their lives. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that! I’m all for self-improvement. But in my opinion, the way that we go about these resolutions is entirely flawed. 

A quick Google search will tell you that the history of New Year’s resolutions date back to somewhere around 4,000 years ago with the famed Babylonian civilization. The practice began, as most things did in archaic times, as a ritual meant to honor pagan gods. So, I don’t mean to piss off any ancient gods with my assertion, but I still firmly stand in the belief that making a resolution at midnight is utter crap. More specifically, I mean, what we have turned the concept into in the 21st-Century West. Of course the Babylonians’ practice is entirely understandable and deserving of respect. It’s about honoring something outside of the self and that makes it worthwhile.

But in the here and now, New Year’s resolutions have turned into this weird societal competition. It’s all too often not about actually bettering the self. If that were the case, I’d have no issue, but instead it’s become about showing everyone around you that you’re bettering yourself. My personal theory is that’s why people are so obsessed with picking the same resolutions. You know the ones – going to the gym, losing weight, eating healthy, cleaning up your language, saving money, etc. What these things all have in common is that they’re incredibly visible changes that are certain to be noticed by and come up around your close circle. It’s become about being lauded. While everyone wants to be validated by peers, this starts to dangerously border the line on being too desperate.

Don’t even get me started on the majority of the resolution-making community’s general inability to actually maintain the resolutions they drone on about and tout. This is where I think the other harmful part of modern resolutions come in. Since so many of the popular goals and resolutions relate to bodies, health and your socioeconomic status in our world. Not sticking to them creates room for negative feelings, especially about oneself. It can also make you feel like you’ve given up or inspire you to lose confidence. 
Just because you’ve set a goal doesn’t mean it has to be accomplished instantly – or even accomplished at all. Resolutions shouldn’t have all the pressure attached to them that they do. Which is why, this year, I decided I want to read more in my spare time. Key words being “want” and “spare time.” This way it’s something that comes to the forefront of my mind if and when I want to. And it’s limited to my free time, which means there’s no stressing about fitting in 45 minutes a day to read when we live in a society that’s always so pressed for time. The best part is, if I don’t pick up a book for a whole month, that’s perfectly fine. So it’s okay to not make a resolution. I promise. You’ll be so much better off for it.

Sophia Thomas

Wisconsin '26

Sophia is a current first-year student at UW-Madison and couldn't be more excited to be a baby Badger! She's a Wisco girl born and raised, so the way to her heart is any cheesy meal or dessert that involves ice cream/custard. In her spare time, Sophia enjoys hosting friends for dinner, trying out new cafés, rewatching all of her favorite shows, and, of course, coming up with fresh article ideas for Her Campus!