Sunday, December 20, 2015

Friday Reflections (Not on Friday) - Vol. 5 - New Year's Resolutions

New Year's Resolutions

When I was a teenager and young adult in my early 20s, I made New Year's Resolutions.  I did so because that was the thing to do, it was New Year's after all, and, frankly, because I didn't know any better.

Our society, through movies, TV shows, and the notorious weight loss commercials that, by my prediction, will start appearing on December 26, overly romanticizes New Year's and, in my opinion, makes the holiday out to be way more powerful than it actually is.  

Remember the scene from Forrest Gump, when Forrest is in New York City staying with Lieutenant Dan and they are at a bar for New Year's Eve?  One of Lt. Dan's female friends, "Long Limbs" Lenore, enthusiastically points to the TV coverage of Times Square, announcing that she and her friend were just there.  She then says, "Don't you just love New Year's?  You get to start all over.  Everyone get's a second chance." 

I don't mean to sound harsh, but I don't believe that for one second.  

For some reason, Americans (I'm not sure if other cultures or nationalities do this or not, so that's why I didn't say "humans"), like to believe that when the clock strikes midnight on January 1, that something magical happens - that we are transformed and our slates are magically erased.  Contrary to that romantic notion, nothing changes when the clock strikes twelve except the date and time.  At midnight on January 1, we are still the same people we were on December 31 at 11:59pm - we're just one minute older.

So, as you've probably already deduced by now, no, I do not make New Year's Resolutions.

I read an article a few years back that estimated that only about 10% of those who make New Year's resolutions actually succeed at keeping them.  Given those numbers, the odds are definitely not in anyone's favor of keeping a New Year's resolution.  I believe the reason so many New Year's resolutions fall by the wayside is because people make them because it's a new year and that's what society expects us to do (because of the romantic notion our culture tends to have).  Studies in psychology have long indicated that a person will only lose weight, get out debt, spend less, save more, quit smoking, declutter, exercise more, etc. if that person is, as they say in poker, "all in."  If people make New Year's resolutions because they feel that they have to just because it's a new year instead of truly wanting to, then chances are the resolution will not last very long.

I don't make New Year's Resolutions because I refuse to let the date on the calendar dictate when I'm going to make a change in my life.  Knowing myself as I do, I know that if I'm not all in, that I will fail with my half hearted attempt.  Why do that to myself?  

I think change is good and often essential.  I believe self reflection is healthy. I believe in growth and improvement.  Most importantly, I believe change and growth can happen anytime, not just when a new year rolls around.

Linking up with Mackenzie @ Reflections from Me 
and Janine @ Reflections from a Redhead.   

1 comment:

  1. i like new years resolutions, even if i'm not one of the 10% that actually keeps them haha. i'm not good at keeping goals regardless of when i make them, to be honest. but i do like to make them. that being said, if i want to do something or change something, i don't need to wait till jan 1st, like you said, a date won't dictate anything in my life.


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