Every year I embark on a new and overly ambitious New Year’s resolution. Although I never successfully act on my resolution for more than a month, I excitedly begin a new goal annually. This year, I naively decided on my usual, unfeasible resolution: no stress.
The failing point of every unsuccessful New Year’s resolution falls upon the resolution itself, rather than the execution or motivation of the individual. Starting a new, often extreme habit every Jan. 1 is so difficult it might as well be impossible, especially considering the societal pressure to create a grandiose plan for the new year.
My determination to go through the new year without stress was clearly ill-advised, but my failure to follow through was impacted by outside factors as well as my own actions. Like all New Year’s resolutions, unexpected factors can bring even the best designed plan to utter failure.
When I decided I would go throughout an entire year without stress, I thought I had planned for every possibility. I thought through stressful situations, researched relaxation techniques, and even downloaded meditation apps. After counting down to midnight and the beginning of 2019, I fell asleep excited for my upcoming, stress-free days.
The first week of the new year, I tried to begin every day with a renewed mentality. Eventually, I grew frustrated; each day brought some new stress which fell out of my control. Unfortunately, no amount of meditation apps can calm down a high school student with college, class, and scholarship deadlines.
My resolution experience is no different than the 80% of people who fail in their New Year’s Resolutions within a month. The most commonly cited reason for unsuccessful resolutions is putting the goal before the path. In other words, we are so excited for the results that we forget about the work needed to get to our achievement.
The idea that between Dec. 31 and Jan. 1, we will experience a drastic change in our lifestyles by going to the gym every day, losing 20 pounds, switching from a carnivorous diet to raw vegan, or going stress-free, is quite frankly ridiculous. Despite this blatantly impossible demand each Jan. 1, we are all expected to embark on a life-changing resolution. Next year, don’t feel pressured to begin an impossible challenge. And at any point of the year, don’t postpone a goal until Jan. 1.
Achieving a goal can happen at any time, but New Year’s resolutions are rarely successful.