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Revising resolutions

10. 9. 8. 7. 6. 5. 4. 3. 2. 1. The inevitable toast of celebration on New Year’s Eve, following the countdown to midnight, comes with strings attached. Expectations, dreams, desires and ideas of what a “new year, new me” will look like occupy the thoughts, prayers and words of strangers when it comes to making New Year’s resolutions. However, according to a recent Very Well Mind article, “90 percent of New Year’s resolutions will be abandoned within just a few months.” New Year’s resolutions, although positive in theory, are in fact an unplanned hasty attempt to make big changes that many people are not prepared to make — rendering them unrealistic and inevitably sources of disappointment.

Ava Carlson

Optimism surrounds the new year by nature, as the clock resets and each person gets to theoretically start fresh from their failures and disappointments of the past year. This leaves a blank slate to set life altering goals for themselves, such as changes in eating habits, exercise plans and daily activities. However, this unchecked and ignorant optimism is part of the equation that sets resolutions up for failure. The idea of making a sudden change to one’s life in a very impactful, day-to-day way is unrealistic and extremely difficult, especially considering the changes many people hope to see in themselves are uncomfortable. For example, losing weight, getting a new job, and finding love aren’t the easiest and most attainable tasks in the world, to name a few. 

“The pain of not changing has to be greater than the pain of changing for us to really… change,” Terri Bly, a licensed clinical psychologist, said in an article for Very Well Mind. 

Simply put, New Year’s resolutions are often blind to obstacles, planning and accountability. Of course, it makes sense that many resolutions are rushed and not well-thought-out; the pressure around the new year and making a resolution to change oneself is so immense that it is common to state a desire for change, without considering if that is realistic or if that change is even something that is truly desired. 

Being ready for change means being ready to jump into a plan of accountability, whether that is self-accountability or aided through outside help, action and planning. In order to sustain change and meet a goal, one of the most impactful things to do is make smaller goals that are more attainable in the short term and help you work toward the ultimate goal throughout the year. 

Personally, looking back on the last four years of high school, I struggled a lot with time management, which many people can relate to. One of the only methods I have found useful and continue to use nearly daily is holding myself accountable by keeping myself aware of my work and making lists to plan how to get tasks done. Constantly updating and adapting to my ability to focus and the conditions that help me work best every day has allowed me to find a balance between my work, my stress and myself. The foundation of this method has been accepting that not everything is going to get done in one day, and not every day is going to be a productive one, and yet celebrating the ones that are. 

Additionally, the self reflection around resolutions is often shallow. We are short changing ourselves by just looking to what is most desired. In order to make meaningful change, it is essential to take the time to consider why we haven’t been able to meet a similar goal in the past and what has changed about our mindset or situation to make it viable for this go-around.

“Once you understand more intimately your mindsets, values, beliefs, habits and greatest fears, you will begin to realize why certain goals are going to be very hard for you to achieve, and even harder to sustain, unless you commit to a deeper level of change,” Kathy Caprino, a career and leadership coach dedicated to business advancement, said in an article for Forbes.

Going off of this idea of commitment to change, it is difficult to work toward a goal if you aren’t changing in order to meet that goal. In the words of Einstein, “We cannot solve a problem on the level of consciousness that created it.”

This holiday season and upcoming new year, take time to reflect on making meaningful and sustained change, expect obstacles and set realistic goals in order to work toward the version of yourself you want to see in 2024.

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About the Contributors
Sawyer Barta
Sawyer Barta, Senior Staff Writer
Sawyer is a senior at Redwood High School and a senior staff writer for the Bark. She enjoys learning about new cultures and languages through travel and foods and is partial to the snow, sweaters and smoothies.
Ava Carlson
Ava Carlson, Reporter
Ava Carlson is a senior at Redwood High School. She enjoys spending time with friends, running, coffee and finding new music.