Why New Years resolutions just aren’t worth the pressure

Written by Georiga Hilton-Buckley

I’ve set myself New Year’s resolutions every year since I was ten and routinely failed at pretty much all of them. Of course, we have the classics: lose more weight, concentrate more in education and make new friends, but for some reason I’ve never managed to complete them. Until 2020.

My goals for 2020 were as follows:

1. Lose weight

2. Travel the world

3. Be more confident

4. Read 50 books within the year

The second resolution was evidently not possible, and as for number three, I think it’s very hard to measure confidence. I did achieve two of my resolutions, but it didn’t really change my life in a significant enough way to warrant the pressure that resolutions bring.

For me, resolutions have never been the most positive experience. Every year I have vowed to lose weight, despairing at my body growing and becoming curvier. Every single year, I clutched the hunks of white flesh that hung off my thighs, desperate for them to dissolve in my hands and by this time next year, be the person I wanted to be. In addition to losing weight, I’d also decide that this was the year I’d become pretty. I was going to magically change myself and become a goddess on earth. Somehow, my lashes would grow twelve inches, I’d never have a spot again, and I’d have the most luxurious and bouncy hair possible. Unsurprisingly, fourteen-year-old me did not make these things happen.

Frequently, I’ve decided that this will be the year where I make new friends and become a social butterfly. If you’ve read any of my other articles, you’ll know I’m slightly too invested in books, causing me to be quite the introvert when I was younger. Once again, this is another doomed resolution from my younger self, simply because I was shy and it takes a lot more confidence than I’ll ever had to walk up to a stranger and make friends. I remember the clock turning to midnight and sobbing because I still didn’t have a person I could call my best friend, and made it my resolution list once again.

I’d ask myself why I couldn’t keep these resolutions, why couldn’t I just do it and change my life? The answer: I was doing all of my resolutions for other people. I made resolutions based on what I thought would make myself more liked, and ultimately, I thought that I would go further in life than I ever could being the old me. We constantly watch films and read books where the main character goes through a dramatic transformation of personality and/or appearance and becomes a better person for it. I wanted that so desperately and New Year’s Eve seemed like the perfect time to start.

The intentions of resolutions are important, and I think a lot of us abandon our New Year’s resolutions because they are made for society, not ourselves. New Year’s comes straight after a period when our weird auntie asks if we want a gym membership for Christmas, we are reminded we are single on New Year’s Eve when we have no one to kiss at midnight, and we reflect on everything we’ve done or not done from the past twelve months. Realistically, it’s not the best place to be making decisions about changing your life.

We need to make promises to ourselves for us, and not everyone else. In 2020 I did finally lose weight; however it didn’t feel like a big deal when I did. I started working out with a friend because I was bored during strikes and lockdown. Ultimately, it didn’t matter what anyone else thought of my body because nobody was seeing it. I also cut a fringe, the classic sign of a breakdown in a chic flick, but I did it because I felt like it and nothing else. I met amazing people this year despite it all and now have a really close friend who goes to university in Glasgow who I can see being in my life forever. Essentially, I achieved a lot of the things I yearned for when I was younger without putting the pressure on myself to do so.

The only resolution I really achieved was reading 50 books, which I am incredibly proud of, but it wasn’t a huge life overhaul. Don’t vow to change your life at midnight after drinking all night in a room full of strangers and bad thoughts, change your life when you want to – and don’t punish yourself for not doing it in a time frame of a year. Sometimes we need to grow as a person before we can make changes. Make resolutions for you and don’t pin your happiness on them coming true, it will happen when it happens.

Georgia is a Third-year Politics student at the University of Leicester with an infatuation for books, particularly the classics. She is interested in feminism, philosophy, and music.

Image from Unsplash

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