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Sunday, February 05, 2023
The independent student publication of The Unversity at Buffalo, since 1950

‘The arbitrary date of Jan. 1’

The start of the new year is not the end-all, be-all for getting your life together

It was a couple of days before one of my teenage New Year’s, and I was ecstatic.

My mom, on the other hand, didn’t seem so excited. Trying to get her into the holiday spirit, I excitedly told her my resolutions — to run more, to study more, to spend less time on my phone — and asked what hers were.

“Resolutions can be made on any date of the year,” she said. “The arbitrary date of Jan. 1 shouldn’t be the only time people feel they can make a resolution.”

Those words still stick with me to this day. They changed how I view New Year’s resolutions.

I’ve grown to see New Year’s resolutions as overhyped and unnecessarily stressful. I’m not saying that resolutions and goals in general aren’t important, far from it. But why wait to make the changes you want to see in your life until Jan. 1? Don’t use the new year as an excuse to procrastinate, and don’t view it as a pressure to get everything together.

I understand people associate the start of the new year with new beginnings, but I believe resolutions come from spontaneous, meaningful experiences — not from an arbitrary date that represents the start of a new year. For example, my sister decided to delete her social media a week ago. She found herself spending too much time endlessly scrolling when she could be picking up more meaningful hobbies.

I used to take New Year’s pretty seriously, endlessly stressing on the days leading up to Jan. 1. I felt as if I had to get my entire life in order in such a short period of time. 

I think other people feel this pressure too — the pressure to have a resolution and stick with it for the rest of the year. 

This unnecessary anxiety makes it hard for many — myself included — to actually enjoy their New Year’s celebrations.

Humans are creatures of habit. It’s difficult to drastically change your way of living and stick with that. People make mistakes, and resolutions take time. It’s a trial and error process. Your resolution may not take just one year to accomplish, it may take multiple years, or even a lifetime.

I used to see resolutions as massive undertakings, but they don’t need to be. If you are planning on making a New Year’s resolution, make it doable. Start small and work toward your ultimate goal. 

The disappointment of not fulfilling your New Year’s resolution hurts.

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I’ve seen both myself and others go through mental and emotional distress for not fulfilling their resolutions. It’s why I’ve decided to opt for this practice instead.

This New Year’s, try not to stack on more than you can handle. Take each day at a time, and soon enough, your resolutions will become your reality.

The opinion desk can be reached at opinion@ubspectrum.com

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