Why I haven't set myself any New Year's Resolutions
New Year, new me?
Whilst I'm still struggling to get to grips with the fact we are already in 2022, the new year is here! Magazines are full of healthy living plans and all the ads on the telly are telling us to hit the gym. Social media seems to be full of people starting new exercise plans, people smugly announcing that they're doing Dry January or Veganuary, that they're going to meditate every day and finally learn how to speak Italian.
Whilst these are all admirable intentions and I wish them all the best, they're often made when we're still in the celebratory glow of the festive period, when we're feeling all "rose-tinted and hopeful" about what the New Year will bring. Made before the weather gets truly grim, before the credit card statement for December drops through the letterbox and before you remember your tax return is due at the end of the month... Before you know it we're into the depths of January and heading out for that 7am run seems like the worst idea you've ever had.
We resolve to make commitments and promises to ourselves to change – to be better or different. We’re convinced that if we’re good, and can keep these resolutions, we’ll be happy. But are New Year's resolutions just another way we're telling ourselves we're not good enough? Even when you read articles for tips to help you stick to your New Year's resolutions, the messaging is so often "you're doing it wrong" or "here's why you've failed to stick to it you utter moron".
According to a YouGov poll at the end of last year, only 31% of people who made a resolution for 2021 kept to it, which leaves 69% in the same camp as me: either not remembering I even set any resolutions, or finishing the year having not managed it and feeling like I've let myself down, that I've failed to be the "best version of me" yet again.
I've had a pretty bumpy start to the year: when we got home from visiting family on 1st January, we were greeted by a boiler that had decided its New Year's resolution was to quit its day job and pursue its passions... Nearly a week later and we're still without heating and hot water (bucket showers in a house that's topping 10°C are about as fun as they sound). I also found out I hadn't got the job I really wanted... boo.
So, after living through a pandemic, uprooting my life and moving to Cambridge last year and, this week, having endured bucket showers and wearing all the clothes I own in an effort to stay warm, I have chosen to be kind to myself this year. I am freeing myself of the guilt and inevitable feeling of failure that comes with not sticking to New Year's resolutions. I have decided to set none whatsoever. Or rather... it's just one: "keep going".
New year, new me.