Let’s face it. Returning home after the first term of a new academic year brings with it all kinds of realisations, regrets and inevitably areas of our life that we want to work on for the next term. Add in the hype around new year’s resolutions, and there suddenly seems to be a whole lot of conversations starting with the words ‘next year I’m going to…’.
From the relatively standard ‘I’m going to try and eat fewer fried potatoes at college dinners’ to the classic (but slightly tragic), ‘Yeah new year, new me, I’m going to attempt the whole of Epiphany without crying once in the Players bathrooms’, New years resolutions are pretty diverse.
But the question is; if we want to achieve our aims, should we make one or two challenging resolutions, or, as I have done, furiously scribble down ten to twenty minor ways to improve each and every area of life that seems to be deficient in some way.
Will looking at a list everyday and seeing the mountain you have to climb to achieve everything end in tears, giving up and vowing to try them all again next year? Or will it motivate you to slowly but surely check off the long list and complete most, if not all of them?
I think it depends on what kind of person you are. If, like me, you enjoy the satisfaction of checking things off a list and feel like you won’t feel alienated by having a list of so many, then sure, go for the long list. On the other hand, I can see the advantages in having one challenge for the year, and focussing whole heartedly on that goal. For me, I feel like there are so many things to balance when I’m living in Durham that one goal would mean I would forget about other important areas of my life that I should be tackling and trying to improve. However, this could just be because I’m pretty disorganised generally and seem to have a lot of areas I could work on in my life. So yeah, it depends.
Or, you may completely disagree with the idea of new year’s resolutions in general. ‘Why wouldn’t you just do that now?’ was the response that I got from a friend when I went on a ramble about my resolutions. My friend raised a very good point; if you want to do something, then yes, shouldn’t I be trying to do it now?
However, as some of us less organised souls know, if you aren’t already proactive, on it, and flourishing in life, new year’s resolutions – regardless of how many we decide to make, do provide the opportunity for a fresh start. They allow us to move past any mistakes or things we didn’t do as well as we wanted to last year, and make a genuine and concerted effort to change things for the better.
So, in conclusion, my opinion on new year’s resolutions, as with many other things in life, is to simply do what you want.
New year’s resolutions should be a way to tackle those things that got forgotten about last year, that you’ve wanted to do for years, or simply that you know you have to do to get the most from life. Just remember, if you’ve failed at one by the 28th January, it’s really not the end of the world. There’s no particular need to wait until next January to try again.