The Social Appeal of a New Year

When it comes to our behaviors, as much as we’d like to think we’re adaptable, we are creatures of habit. But every year, as December comes upon us, amidst the holiday shopping and family planning, we reflect on our journey so far and reflect on ways to improve our lives. Amidst the seasonal shifts in weather, daylight saving time, and holidays, we jump into more change. Whether it’s in our relationships, careers, or physical bodies, the list is endless and we never shy away from writing it all down. The sad part is, 43% of all people expect to fail before February, and almost one out of four quit within the first week of setting their New Year’s resolution. These statistics aren’t drastic–we’re talking about huge shifts in thinking, being, and functioning…just because a new year came upon us? The body and mind don’t reset just because the year did. Below is a list of reasons why setting new year’s resolutions becomes more of a social appeal than something real. 

  1. Process versus Goals: When we write out our goals for the new year, most of it is done through processing. We aren’t creating active and necessary steps to ensure that these goals are fail-proof or doable at least. Instead, we write vague goals that are too broad to break down and aren’t even adaptable to our day-to-day lives. 
  2. Social pressure: Let’s face it, we’re all processing our year because that’s what everybody does–not because it’s what we want. It shows up in the goals that we create: get fit, eat healthily, make money, find the one…this all stems from a larger more contextual social issue of what people say is the best thing to do. 
  3. Lack of motivation: At the time of creating these goals, we’re all excited at the prospect of something new. A new way of living, being, and creating. At that moment, it was a breath of fresh air. But when it comes time to live this new way of life, the moment has passed and we question why we even thought this was a possibility. The reason behind this is a lack of motivation. If we aren’t creating our goals with incentives and motivators, we won’t have the energy and willpower to change them. 

In my opinion, improving our lives for the better should be year-round, with smaller moments of shifts that build off from the moment before it. In this way, we’re constantly stimulating ourselves to process our actions and create change that is easily implemented in our daily lives. So here’s to many more moments of making mistakes and trying again future, change, and uncomfortable growth. And through it all, with loving care and compassion. 

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