For as long as I can remember, New Year’s eve has always revolved around 3 things: resolutions, fireworks and playing Mario Kart until 3 in the morning. I don’t have an issue with fireworks (apart from the fact that they scare my dog), and I will never ever ever have an issue with Mario Kart, so I’m going to talk about resolutions. They’re very much the glitter of the Promise world; it seems a good idea to show them off to begin with but somewhere down the line you give up and try to ignore them whilst everyone continues to point them out to you. So not cool.
I’ll admit, for a few years I fell into the trap of making resolutions and, inevitably, not sticking to them- it was always a different variation on the ‘weight’ theme, whether it was to get healthier, get stronger, or straight up stop being a fatty. But each year I’d keep it close to my (rather large) chest for fear of judgement or, more scarily, encouragement that it was a good resolution for me to have. So by February I’d have broken the promise I made to myself and gone back to my usual ways, maybe sleeping in a bit too long on one day, having another piece of chocolate that I know I shouldn’t, opting not to leave the house even though I have the time. Whatever it was that I would immediately label as a ‘bad habit’ because it went against my New Year’s resolution.
But they’re not bad habits. They never were. I was only labelling themselves as such because the concept of a New Year’s resolution already comes with a side of guilt before you’ve begun. So I would mentally punish myself for a decision that carries no weight (no pun intended) on my life in the slightest, and turn it into a big deal when it wasn’t. And I think it’s an issue that a lot of people face when they log in to facebook on January 1st and announce their resolution to however many hundreds of friends they claim to have. And sometimes the guilt spurs people on, and those people I applaud for making whatever positive change they did, but I can’t hold my hands up to them and say I was mistaken because it still feels so… unhealthy. It feels unhealthy to complete a goal through guilt.
If you have a goal, go for it. But it isn’t something you have to start on New Year’s Day, it doesn’t have to have a time limit (unless your goal is literally limited time-wise). I have plenty of goals but to set them all on the first day of the year seems massively daunting to me- taking things a day at a time is the only way I can cope with things as it is most days, I don’t need any added pressure onto that or I’d probably never get anywhere. I just feel like it’s a ritual where none needs to exist; we can’t just pig out on leftover cheesecake and crisps and turkey sandwiches anymore, it becomes this day filled with mini existential crises and guilt, where everyone’s closing the lids on the biscuit tins and denying themselves something just for the sake of the date. If you want to get healthier or lose weight do it at your own pace on your own terms, if you want to quit smoking give yourself time to research what way would be the best to get you to stop for good, if you want to give up alcohol don’t force yourself on the 1st of January if you planned to party that evening. There’s plenty of ways to reach targets and goals and New Year’s resolutions shouldn’t be one of them.
This whole concept of ‘New Year, New Me’ seems heartbreaking to me because it implies that the person who said it doesn’t like who they are now. I’ll admit, I can’t say for sure that I liked myself this time last year and maybe that’s why I forced a health kick that didn’t stick, but I can say for sure that I like myself just the way I am now and drinking green tea and cutting out chocolate didn’t contribute to that. Allowing myself to be the person I am, have the things I like, stop eating/drinking/doing the things I didn’t like, and reminding myself how awesome I am is what made me like me again after years of dislike and putting myself down. And New Year’s resolutions had a detrimental effect on me when I was already in a low place. Ignore the hype, you don’t have to jump on the bandwagon and make one up because everyone else has one or because someone asked you what yours is. Tell them you’re fabulous enough as it is and you don’t need one.