Have 2020 and 2021 ruined new year’s resolutions?

December 31, 2021

This is not the moment for new year’s resolutions. It is literally the time for them–new year’s day being right on the horizon–but has the disruption of the past two years made new year’s resolutions as we know them irrelevant?

Things like vowing to lose weight or to be more productive are formulated as a task that implies we’re not good enough as we are.

There’s no pleasure in growth, just a mandate to fix ourselves without delivering any insight into what we’ve learned, what our strengths are, or what could make our lives more meaningful.

Setting goals and making room for reflection can positively shape our lives, but resolutions as we’ve largely practiced them have been far more about poking at our perceived shortcomings rather than appreciating the value in the person before the resolution.

In the context of 2020 and 2021, doing anything that’s not immediately positive for our wellbeing seems silly when we don’t know what life and society is going to throw at us next.

This isn’t to deny the feeling that this time of year inevitably invokes–engaging in some sort of ritual to reflect on the past year and shape behavior for the next dates back more than 4000 years to the ancient Babylonians through to several European and American traditions.

Regardless of the calendar month, it is inherently useful to assess how things could be different and reflect on the potential of the year ahead.

It’s also useful to regain the perspective that achieving long-term goals often isn’t possible in 12 months, so our cycles of change won’t necessarily conform to a calendar.

For example, maybe you will write more or start your business this year. But that likely owes some credit to the groundwork you did three years ago: telling yourself you wanted to do that and writing it down, or doing that course on how to write a business plan.

Overall, and in the context of current events, shifting the focus onto feeling gratitude for what you already have can be a worthy resolution in itself. Remove the pressure to do better all the time and give yourself some credit for who you already are.

Photo by Matheus Frade on Unsplash