There's a reason why so many of us don't follow up on our resolutions, and the answer has to do with the flawed resolutions we set.
The clock strikes twelve.
Immediately, your first thought is the perfunctory New Year’s Resolution, embossed in shiny letters all over your psyche. A cultural phenomenon born once every December 31st, forgotten or eschewed as early as 19 days into the new year.
It’s no coincidence that this lack of follow up is due to the type of bar we set for ourselves.
When the clock strikes twelve, those of us who haven’t ever stepped foot in a gym suddenly resolve to crank out Olympian sized muscle proportions in a year or less. We gravitate toward the glamor of the unattainable finish line before even approaching the first marker, intoxicated by the champagne-popping, confetti-bursting, glitter-covered festivity around us.
But that’s not really what the New Year is about, is it?
Yes, it’s a time of change, of stepping into the best version of ourselves. But our typical resolutions are reductive, flimsy misunderstandings of what we really need to be fulfilled.
The reason why New Year’s resolutions don’t work is because they try to simplify the complexity of human wants and needs into a Hallmark friendly slogan. “I’m going to lose X pounds” does not take into consideration the quintessentially human why that drives our actions. Is it really the weight, or is it a deep sense of unworthiness in who we are now? Is it really the weight, or is it trying to cope in a world full of calamities that threaten to swallow us up in their avalanche of fear and hopelessness? Is it really the weight, or is it a lifestyle that suffocates who we really want to be?
It’s about time to reprogram and revamp the shiny, superficial New Year’s Resolution. It’s time to really dig deep within ourselves, question why we seek the things we seek. Only once we truly figure out what we need can we do the mental, emotional and physical work that brings us peace and self-contentment.
So yes, let’s toast for a better version of ourselves in 2023. But let’s also remember that the best version of us can’t be realized with a simplistic resolution, that our wonderful, complex humanity deserves more care and respect than reaching a goal post.
That the true, most fulfilled people we want to be deserve so much more than to be measured by checkboxes.