New Year, New You?

Why wait until the New Year to be a ‘new you’? New Year’s Eve is something I’ve never been able to get excited about. It’s an evening where people get blind drunk and pledge to change their lives, as if there is some sort of magic in the air at midnight that will make their resolution all the more likely to become a reality. Well, I’m afraid it seems more of a midnight myth than magic, and if you really wanted to change, you would do so sooner. The Gryphon explores whether New Years is really a time of change and the notion of New Year resolutions.

My words may be cutting, but think back to this time last year. What was your resolution, and did you stick to it? I hope you did, and congratulations if stage one of ‘new you’ is now complete, and you are ready to commence stage two in 2016. However, I have a sinking feeling that many of you are sitting there reading this and shaking your heads. After all, according to Forbes, only a tiny eight percent of those who make New Year’s resolutions actually keep them.

There is nothing wrong with re-invention, nor with change. I myself find that I have much I would like to change, yet I don’t see the first of January as a deadline before which I must pledge my desire to do so. It is strange how the date itself puts so much pressure upon people to act, and I wonder if it actually does any good. To find out, The Gryphon spoke students across the country to get their take on New Year’s resolutions.

Francis, 22, studying at the University of West England said:

“One of my friends, Tom, told me that he had a massive crush on another one of my friends, Lauren, and that he was going to ask her out. I was so excited, because I knew she liked him to. When I asked Lauren how things were going with Tom, as I wanted to know if he’d asked her out yet (or if anything at all had happened), and she said ‘we’ll see what happens on New Year’s Eve’. This was a couple of weeks ago, and I was baffled, and it seemed Joe was also dragging his feet. Was he waiting for New Year’s Eve too? I really don’t get it. They want to be together, but why are they waiting for New Years? Maybe it’s the romance, I don’t know. Or, maybe they are both using New Year’s Eve as some kind of deadline…”

James, 21, at the University of Sheffield told us:

“New Year: an excuse for a party and to change your life (because changing your diet yesterday was so much harder than it is today…). New Year isn’t like every other over commercialised holiday with a real purpose under the surface, there is no purpose to new year apart from to visit your local pubs and spend your money staying up later than you normally would with people you wouldn’t normally want to see at 2am. I think people who wait till New Year to change their lives aren’t really committed enough to do so sooner.”

And finally, Molly, 21, studying at the University of Leeds states:

“I’ve decided to go vegetarian in the New Year – but I’m not sure why I’ve waited until then. I’ve been considering it for months and actually spent five weeks not eating meat in summer whilst travelling. I suppose it seems more official this way, rather than just suddenly waking up one morning in the middle of whatever month and switching. As humans, we always seem to look for defining moments to make big decisions – from starting diets on Mondays to “I’ll do it later!” to becoming a new version of you in the New Year. In some ways it’s probably just another way to procrastinate – plus this way I get to knowingly have a last meat-based Christmas dinner and can savour it! But I’, determined that, unlike many of the forgotten resolutions of New Years past, this is one that will stick.”

New Year’s Eve is certainly considered a ‘defining moment’ of the year, regardless of whether or not the day itself has any real substance. But I would like to end with what I said to the drunken woman down the pub on New Year’s, asking through the toilet cubicle wall whether 2016 would be a good one: ‘It will be whatever you make it’. Don’t wait to change, just do it.

Katie Dawtry

[Image: Mary Altaffer]

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