Actually, Your New Year's Resolutions Are Pretty Useless And Probably Bad For You

Actually, Your New Year's Resolutions Are Pretty Useless And Probably Bad For You

Striving to be better is great and all, but New Year's resolutions are a waste of time.
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Christmas is over, and now people everywhere are getting ready to say goodbye to 2017. Whether it was the most amazing year or the absolute worst, 2017 is almost gone, and 2018 is about to begin.

That means lists like this will be seen everywhere:

Lose weight.

Stop smoking.

Eat less junk food.

What do all of these things have in common? They are all the most common New Year's resolutions.

What else do all of these things have in common? They usually are never achieved.

The phrase "new year, new me" is said over and over. Most of us want to send our previous selves away along with the previous year. New Year's resolutions become all the rage.

But, do you want the truth?

New Year's resolutions are useless and, in some cases, have been proven to be bad for your health. Now, I am not saying setting goals to improve yourself is a bad thing. In fact, any way we can take our flaws and try to fix them and better ourselves is always going to be a good thing.

I am not saying all resolutions are bad. I am saying that there are specific ways in which we make resolutions that do more harm to us than they do good.

People say things like, "in this new year I am going to lose all my fat, get to a gym five times a week, completely change my look and become a new, better person."

The problem with resolutions like these is we make such big promises and think that is enough to motivate us. The truth is we rarely ever see these through.

Statistics say that only eight percent of people who make resolutions actually stick to them.

Steve Salerno, author of "Sham: How the Self-Help Movement Made America Helpless", says,

"Do we all not know people who make the same resolutions year after year? Or maybe we are that person. My concern is that the resolution takes the place of the action, as is also true with so many millions of people who sign up for an endless succession of self-help programs: They think some magic words, some avowed promise, will magically transform their lives, when we all know that the real transformational work is tough, grueling, and usually involves sacrifice and unpleasant choices."

Basically, people want to see change without putting in any work. They want the action of saying, "this new year I will do this" or, "this new year I will stop doing this" to be all the work they have to do in order to see change.

Not actually doing work to see change can actually make the thing you are trying to change worse.

For example, if you have an issue with smoking, you say, "this new year, I will stop smoking cigarettes." You say you will stop, but you don't actually have a plan on how you are going to stop.

You just want the action of saying, "I will stop" to be enough.

When you inevitably fail, and you will if you have no course of action, then you begin to feel defeated and feel like a failure. If you use smoking as a way to relieve stress, you will begin smoking more because you are stressed that you haven't been able to stop.

Ann Cuddy, a social psychologist, says we are bad at making reasonable goals. We either go with absolutes like "I will get to the gym five times a week" or very vague goals like "I will get a job."

Goals like these make them very hard to stick with.

She also says we don't take time to allow for failure. We are so set on our outcomes and not setting a process. Of course, we are going to fail--failure is a part of any process.

We fail and then we know what works and what we need to fix. Creating a process to get to your ultimate goal is the only way to get to your goal.

Jen A. Miller, a writer for "Smarter Living," says we should get SMART with our New Year's resolutions.

Specific: Set concrete, clearly defined goals with specific points of success.

Measurable: Whatever the goal, find ways to measure your progress.

Achievable: Aim high, but within reach. The goal should make you struggle but, ultimately, you should be able to obtain it.

Relevant: Find something that is really important to you that you want to change. The more it matters, the more motivated you will be to change it.

Time-bound: Set a reasonable timeline for your goal and celebrate the small victories along the way.

So maybe I don't think all resolutions are useless and terrible. We should all want to be better. I just think we definitely need to change the way we go about our resolutions.

Cover Image Credit: Pexels

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19 Struggles Only Girls With The 'Looks Thin In Clothes But Not In A Bikini' Body Type Will Understand

A resounding 'thank you' to whoever decided one-pieces were cool again.
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We grew up thinking the world was black and white. There's tall people and short people. There's old people and young people.

There's fat people and skinny people.

But as you get older, you realize there is a lot more in between those two ends of the spectrum than you ever thought possible. Especially when it comes to weight. And you do a lot more realizing if you're in an awkward position on that scale... Literally.

1. People always tell you to stop saying you are fat

Obviously, your friends SHOULD prevent you from talking negatively about yourself. And if you only saw you when you were fully dressed, you'd probably tell yourself to stop saying you're fat, too.

2. And are kind of surprised by your actual weight

You've definitely had friends who are shocked by the number on your scale because you can carry it pretty well when you are fully dressed.

3. Sometimes you feel like a catfish

Have you ever changed out of your super cute, flattering outfit and looked at yourself in the mirror and thought... Wow, am I lying to people?

4. But you know this is probably true for most people

When you're wearing clothes, typically the parts of a body that bring about insecurities (stomach, namely) are covered. No matter the body type, you realize most people are more comfortable in clothes than out of them.

5. Your confidence is often contingent on the month

November? Yep, won't need to be in shorts or a bikini for about 7-8 months. I am good to go.

February? I'll need to be in a bikini soon.. I could use some work.

6. You are thrilled by the one-piece bathing suit making a fashion come back

A resounding 'thank you' to whoever decided it was time to give one-pieces a try again. The stomachs of us in-between gals are appreciative.

7. Crop tops are 95% of the time not your top of choice

Yeah, okay, clothes are supposed to work for me and not against me.

8. You honestly don't understand jean sizes

I have fluctuated in weight a lot of my life, most recently losing 25lbs, and I still did not budge in jean sizes.

9. You wonder what other people think when they see you

Do other people see me as thin in clothing? Or fat in a bikini? What size am I perceived as?

10. Shopping is kind of a nightmare

Have you ever found about 27 items you liked, added the prices and thought, ah, it is going to be so tough to choose from all of these items? Only to go into the fitting room and realize only 2 of the items fit you well? Yep, me every single time I go to the store.

SEE ALSO: 7 Struggles Of Being The Girl Who Is "Not Skinny" But Also "Not Fat"

11. You're thankful that at least you've got boobs

You can kind of hide them in clothes, and then let them steal the show away from your tummy in a swimsuit.

12. You have a hard time setting weight-loss goals

You aren't really sure how overweight you are (if you are, at all) and you don't want to be at an unhealthy weight on either side of the spectrum.

13. Body positivity comes and goes

There are days, weeks or even months when you feel like the most beautiful person on the planet, and then something happens (old jeans don't fit, you try on a new bathing suit, etc.) and you convince yourself that all of that confidence was wrong and undeserved.

14. You always try on the biggest size first

Either this or you're in a weird limbo between the smallest plus sizes size and the biggest generic sizes size.

15. Half of you knows every body is a bikini body, and half of you is convinced that yours is not

You know that your body is worthy of wearing whatever you want to wear, but looking at yourself and seeing what society (and you) sometimes deem as unattractive can eat away at that knowledge.

16. But you also know self-love and confidence are key to beauty

Even if you have to fake it, you know that feeling confident is going to carry you pretty far.

17. Being in a bathing suit is a constant game of readjustment

Okay, I am sitting. Pull the bottoms up to cover as much as my stomach as possible and the back of the top down to cover any back rolls.

18. You've avoided the mirror after a shower before

You know that you are just going to lose all the comfort you felt in your body during the day when you see yourself, so sometimes it is best to just avoid it.

19. Ultimately, you know your beauty is not contingent on what you are wearing

The goal for everyone should be to get to a point where it doesn't matter if you're in a snowsuit, a bathing suit or a birthday suit... You can see your beauty no matter what and feel confident despite what you have on. It'll take time, but falling in love with the way you look is worth it.

Cover Image Credit: Sara Petty

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Rethinking Spring Cleaning

It's not all dust bunnies and silver polish.
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One morning as you leave your house you begin to feel something that you have not felt since mid-October. The air smells dewier— you didn’t even register this as possible. It’s not warm, but it’s not shrewdly freezing, and it’s when this cold-though-perhaps-cool air hits your skin that you realize: it’s spring.

Spring, ah, yes, the season before summer, after winter. In like a lion, out like a sauna. Memories of spring include a palette of pastel colors, the first crocus to break winter ground, yellow dust of tree pollen on windshields, and the plague of hay fever. Spring also has various event-centric connotations: spring flings, spring shopping, spring break, and most importantly within the frame of this article, spring cleaning.

The unpleasurable but eventually rewarding process of throwing away clutter and dusting what had gone undusted for the past year; spring cleaning is the literal 'Mother of All Rituals.' You nag yourself into decidedly throwing away that toaster oven, and then clean your actual oven to ensure that you really don’t need that toaster oven. It’s a give-and-take process, but usually, its conclusion leaves you with about two weeks of feeling new, the sort of rebirth that a secular spring has taken on for the masses, surprisingly.

But what if instead of cleaning out a closet or scrubbing a toilet, spring cleaning took on a completely different meaning this year? Something perhaps more directly connected to that which a half-watered-down bottle of Fabuloso can’t resolve: a cleansing of the SOUL. If you think I’m getting metaphysical with this, you would only be partially right.

A lot of the time the idea of mentally or physically cleansing brings to mind images of drinking kombucha on a silent retreat in Nepal. In reality, we don’t need to get all namaste to do some mental spring cleaning. Instead, we need to be able to recognize our most toxic, self-indulging habits and practices, and try to clear our mind of whatever allows us to perpetuate them.

Let me be less indirect: if something is bothering you or if someone is upsetting you without resolve, the best possible thing you can do for yourself is to take a step back, and say “goodbye.” Not allowing these issues to build also means that you’re not allowing dust to accumulate, anger to rise, distractions to perpetuate. Sweeping your hallways in frustration might be a great way to combat dirt, but won’t help to resolve the issues you’re having with a significant other.

We might feel cleaner after we color-coordinate your closet, but ultimately the problem is so often rooted not in your turquoise sweater having spent most of the year next to an orange flannel, but it's that you are taking control of something, anything, and that something functions as a distraction from real problems.

Dustbust every fuzzy bunny of lint that claims ownership of the space between your couch and your loveseat, and organize every pot and pan you own until you are stainless steel in the face. In the end, if springtime has not allowed you to be a bigger, better, more independent person, did it really happen? The weather hardly tells me it did, what with the gap shrinking between summer and winter, so it’s really up to you to give spring the sort of pseudo-secular rebirth it desires.

Cover Image Credit: Eduard Militaru / Unsplash

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