Why New Year’s Resolutions Are Stupid (And More Pessimistic Thought Processes)

Courtesy of Google Images

Courtesy of Google Images

In the next few weeks, gym memberships are going to sky rocket. All the treadmills will be taken. The pool will be packed. The YMCA will have people leaking out its ears. And then, in about a month, something will suddenly happen. The over-chlorinated water will sit as still as a mirror, the treadmills will lie desolate in their lonely spots, the weights will be useless, never again to be lifted by flabby arms.

This is your worst-case-scenario: New Year’s resolutions. We don’t want it to be true, and we fight it saying, “This year’s going to be different. I’m really going to do it this time.” But we are lazy human beings, and we’re allergic to change- which makes resolutions of any kind a bad idea for us.

In our Junior Physical Education class, we’ve been taught that there are certain steps that you have to follow in order to set goals:

1. Set long term goals

2. Set short term goals

3. Be specific

4. Be realistic

While you’re reading, you might as well jot down this list and then title it at the top: “Steps You Have to Follow if You Want to Succeed in Life Ever.” Because for all it’s intangible and in-personable nonsense, it is evidence as to why no one should be allowed to write New Year’s resolutions.

Look at it this way. Say I am going to be depressingly generic and decide to work out in the New Year. On my resolution list it will probably look something like “get skinny.” In reality, I haven’t done myself any favors. I mean, yes, my long term goal is to look like a super model, but how am I going to get there? What am I going to do? Is looking like a model something I can actually achieve (to which the answer is: most likely not)?

“Okay,” you might say, “That’s not really fair. I’m not one of those people who wants to lose weight. I have more realistic goals. This year I want to be more patient.” And at that point you would have to stop because I would be laughing at you. Patience, kindness, thoughtfulness. Just because a new year has begun doesn’t mean you can entirely change your own nature. If you are impatient by nature, good luck having more patience. If you are an unkind person, I feel bad for you because that’s hard to fix. These things are entirely intangible, and really can’t be helped by our “Steps You Have to Follow if You Want to Succeed in Life. Ever,” any more than the hope of getting skinny can.

The most popular saying I have seen while scrolling through my unfortunately bare and not-entertaining Facebook newsfeed is “New Year, New Me!” Which is just sad. Because that’s not how it works. See, New Year’s resolutions could work, they really could. But they won’t because we are very fond of talking and not very keen on walking while we do it.

I almost got into a fist fight once. It was during a high school soccer game. There was a big misunderstanding and some of the girls on the other team were picking on the smallest girl on our team. In between plays they would come up behind her and antagonize her. But notice I said almost. Because as much as they shoved her and threatened her (and we shoved and threatened them), no one actually threw a punch. Just like my almost-fist-fight, New Year’s resolution rarely actually get carried through into reality, because nobody wants to throw the first punch.

Walk and talk, ladies and gentlemen. Walk and talk.

So. Instead of making New Year’s resolutions this year, let’s focus on what we’ve already got. Don’t just set impossible goals you know you’ll never be able to reach. Set short term goals. Be specific. Be realistic.

And if you’re ever in a situation where you might get into a fist fight… don’t throw the first punch.

How do you feel about New Year’s resolutions? Have you ever had a resolution that you kept? If so, leave a comment below.

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Posted on January 6, 2015, in Top Stories and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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