New Year’s resolutions remind us that, as we get closer and closer to death, we need to live like Tolstoy says: by making genuine connections and making decisions that will make us the happiest. This could include things from quitting that job you hate and leaving a toxic relationship, or exploring the world and dying your hair that spontaneous colour.
Moving into the new year allows for reflections like that. The question we all should be asking ourselves is why can’t we do that kind of reflection all the time?
Plenty of self-help books tell us that change can happen whenever you want it to, and that we should always be trying to improve ourselves. So why don’t we make resolutions whenever we have the time to reflect on life?
It’s because change does not come easy for humans. If it did, gyms would not be packed on Jan. 1, only for it to be completely empty again by the next December. We forget that the one minute difference between Dec. 31 at 11:59 p.m. and Jan.1 at 12:00 a.m. cannot change us as a whole. It doesn’t magically force us to become a new person with healthy habits and higher motivation. The only main change you have to deal with is writing 2023 instead of 2022 on the top of your pages. It’s not worth it to wait until the end of the year to decide you want to be better.
If you want my advice, don’t wait until Jan. 1 to decide if the life you’re living is the one you want to be living — change it as soon as you’re not satisfied. That will allow for gradual change rather than an idealistic, but unrealistic dream of changing core parts of yourself in one 10 second countdown.
While I do love the celebration of a new year to remind us that time is fleeting and we should be making the most of it, we should be doing that anyways. In fact, if I’m being honest, New Year’s resolutions are kind of a cop-out on not being self-aware of our flaws the other 364 days of the year. So don’t wait… you’ll be much happier and maybe actually follow through with your ambitious goals.