New Year, New You

Hey, wake up. Don’t you remember? It’s 2015! Can you believe it? A new year means a new you, right? So, after you’ve separated your face from the sticky carpet, scraped your aching bones into an upright position, popped a few paracetamols, and quietly stepped over the sleeping bodies of whichever house you might’ve found yourself in, you’re inevitably going to sit down and consider making a resolution.

You might choose to go to the gym. Perhaps you’ll decide to save more money. Most likely, you’ll vow never to touch alcohol again. In any case, the New Year’s Resolution is an age-old tradition that a surprising amount of people seem to abide by; but, according to the NHS, 90% of us won’t be able to stick to our promises.
This failure on a national scale seems to suggest that making a resolution is a little bit pointless. Why should we bother making them if we’re not going to stick to them? In theory, they’re an opportunity for self-reflection, a chance to view your life from the perspective of a fresh start, to tidy up the loose ends and generally better oneself. But, in practice, they tend to last for about a day, or maybe a week if you’re really committed. Why do we seem unable to change?

Well, let’s begin by looking at some of the most popular New Year’s Resolutions. Coming in at number one, there’s lose weight. Then, it’s getting organised. In third, we’ve got spend less, save more. And, in fourth: enjoy life to the fullest. Now, these rankings come from statisticsbrain.com, which uses data collected from Americans, and not Brits – but I think it’s safe to say that these types of resolutions sound familiar, right?
But then, in reading those top four, it becomes obvious as to why nobody fulfils their resolutions – they’re almost painfully wish-washy. Who could possibly live up to the promise of getting organised? What does that even mean? Same goes for living life to the fullest – have I spent all these years living life at half-capacity?

Even the more realistic resolutions like losing weight and spend less aren’t concrete enough to abide by. How much weight should I lose? Does spending a pound less on lunch mean I’ve succeeded and can go back to buying gold-plated toilet seats? Of course not – which is why, on their website, the NHS advise some degree of specificity. They recommend that you avoid waiting until New Year’s Eve to make your resolution and that you should break your goal into a series of steps. However, this then raises another important question: does anybody actually care about resolutions that much?

It’s entirely possible that the insincerity of new year’s resolutions is a well-known secret, with a veil of enthusiasm kept up only for tradition’s sake. Let’s be honest: who’s going to put that much thought and dedication into their resolutions? Well, you may say, maybe I to use the new year to turn over a new leaf and get things on track, and that’s great, go for it – a new year is a great time to implement some necessary drastic lifestyle change.

But, if there’s nothing glaringly obvious that needs sorting, why should we put ourselves under the pressure of living up to these empty promises? In fact, I completely forgot about resolutions until someone asked me what mine were – and even then, I hardly thought twice about it. I think I pledged to write more or travel places, then promptly forgot about resolutions all over again until this article came up for writing. This proves (in my mind, at least) the total fluff that resolutions have become.

The solution, then, is a change of focus. As commitment is the obvious issue, we should all lower our standards and choose something that can be achieved in the short-term. This year, my resolution is to go to the shop and buy a packet of biscuits, or this year, I promise to take a nap and try to get rid of this awful headache. It could be a whole new style of self-improvement. That way, we’ll all be satisfied, we’ll live up to the NHS guidelines, and 1st January will suddenly become the most productive day in history. It’ll be a resolution revolution.


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January 2022
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The University of East Anglia’s official student newspaper. Concrete is in print and online.

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