Well, welcome to 2020! It’s a new year and a new decade, and this might have you feeling like you need to get your life together stat. If you feel like your social media is full of long, sappy captions filled with goals and plans for the next year, you’re not alone – we see it too. There’s a lot of pressure at the start of a new year to ‘become the best version of yourself’ or ‘finally do the things you’ve always told yourself you would,’ but guess what? You don’t have to.
Unpopular opinion: New Year’s resolutions can be great, but they’re usually not. Before you set ridiculously high standards for yourself for the year ahead, just don’t. Here’s why.
1. New Years’ Resolutions are Just Too Much F**king Pressure
The start of a new year can be daunting enough as is. Trying to add a huge life change into the mix as well can often just be too much. The most common New Years’ resolutions are typically things that take an incredible amount of time and energy, like eating healthier, saving money, finding a relationship or quitting a bad habit. We often set these enormous goals for ourselves without really thinking through what it would mean for our lifestyle, and the moment we begin to try to follow through, the pressure catches up with us.
Ironically, another common resolution is to ‘be less stressed,’ but how can we possibly accomplish this when the mere thought of change makes us sweat behind the knees? We can’t, and that’s okay. If making resolutions this year is only going to cause you stress and then make you feel like you failed when you can’t follow through, do yourself a favour and just opt-out. The world will not crash and burn if you keep eating cheeseburgers.
2. A New Year Doesn’t Need to Mean a New You
Tired of hearing ‘new year new me’ everywhere you go? Me too.
For all those self-motivated folks who thrive on the pressure of New Years’ resolutions, you do you – but just because it’s the start of a new year doesn’t mean you need to change yourself. Resolutions are meant to help you live a happier life, but if you’re already happy then why cause yourself the stress? People often feel like they need to find something in their lives to change this time of year, even if they already feel fulfilled and content. If this is you, don’t succumb to the pressure! Keep living your life.
3. Lofty Resolutions are Designed to Fail
There are a million articles out there that will tell you why New Years’ resolutions fail more than they succeed. The short answer? Resolutions often consist of completely unrealistic goals that are too much for even the most motivated of us to accomplish.
Setting a huge, lofty goal for yourself can feel really exciting at first, but when these big goals aren’t truly attainable it can quickly lead to a cycle of stress, overwhelming pressure, burnout, discouragement, then guilt and shame. One of the most common pieces of advice to succeed in accomplishing a big goal is to tell someone else so they can hold you accountable, but this can be a double-edged sword. If the goal isn’t attainable, it can be tremendously stressful feeling like you have to do something or you’re letting someone else down.
Once a goal is causing you more stress than happiness, it’s no longer worth it. You don’t need to prove yourself to anyone this year. If there are changes you want to make in your life, you can do it on your own time, at your own pace.
4. Social Media Ain’t Sh**
Social media, and I can’t emphasize this enough, should not dictate your life. It’s so easy to see everyone posting their accomplishments and future plans on the internet and feel like you need to do the same but you don’t, I promise. Platforms like Instagram and Facebook will always be highlight reels of other people’s lives. Comparing your successes and failures to others when you don’t have the full picture will only make you miserable.
It can often feel like there’s pressure coming from all angles this time of year, but don’t let social media be one of them. If there is something big you want to accomplish this year, do it because you want to do it for personal satisfaction, not for likes.
5. Change Should Come When You’re Ready
The biggest reason why most New Years’ resolutions fail is that, surprise, we aren’t ready to change. Change is scary and it’s a lot of work. If you’re not truly ready to do what it takes to reach that big resolution of yours, you’re left feeling like you failed when you never even stood a chance. Putting yourself in a position where you just aren’t going to win?
Most New Years’ resolutions are insanely hard to achieve, and it’s perfectly normal and okay if you’re just not in a place where you feel ready to make huge life changes. You can set goals whenever you want, and you’ll be so much more successful if you wait until the timing is right. January 1st doesn’t mean anything unless you want it to.
Having aspirations and goals is great, it really is. All of us can change for the better, but the point here is that no one should feel they have to, or try to change things about their life they aren’t ready to change.
If you do want to reflect on the past year and honour the new one, there are smaller ways you can do so without all the pressure. Try setting small intentions instead of goals, or agree to make an effort on the little things like saying yes more, or saying no more.
You know what you need to live a happy and fulfilled life, so just keep doing you – whatever that looks like this year.