Reasonable New Years Resolutions

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It’s New Years eve and we feel ourselves hurtling away from the cosy caress of December, and into a bleak January where the stale air of festivity still lingers, where the only day that is markedly different from the rest is ‘Blue Monday’ and to top it all off, summer feels like a decade away.

Ten seconds ‘till midnight… momentum is building as ‘Auld Lang Syne’ is chanted to the clinking of loosely held glasses yielding various beverages – all of which are instantly beginning to feel less appetising – and with the echoing fireworks, we crash into a brand new chunk of life that feels like it harnesses the power to propel us into success or to break us entirely. It is, however, anti-climatic.

Now it’s 2020, and it feels all at once exactly the same as it did ten seconds ago but simultaneously as though we immediately need to take grasp of the reins to a brand new self that is exponentially more productive, healthy and sociable. It would be unreasonable to assume that on the stroke of midnight, we can all instantly transform into a new elevated and gold gilded form of ourselves, much like what is often projected through social media feeds come January.

This is where resolutions based around the idea of self re-invention have the potential to take the shape of ten years worth of pressure, all compressed into the abstract notion of a new decade.

And so arise the questions gracing everyone’s tongues: Why wait for the new year to embark on self improvement? Isn’t that like writing your to-do lists for the next month, all on the 1st? Year on year, the question is thrown around: “What are your resolutions? To which empty chimes of ‘weight loss’, ‘workout’ and ‘health’ are chorused in harmony. At the same time, shops are stripped of their comforting layer of mince pies and mulled wine, and packed neatly with detox blend teas and yoga mats.

Abstinence is something I have never enjoyed – does anyone though? I cant think of anything worse than taking a pledge to remove my favourite ‘bad’ food from my diet, because let’s face it, I am going to want that food. Instead, I’d prefer to prioritise eating more fruit every day in the interest of balance, which feels both more doable and more productive in the long run.

There is nothing wrong with starting the new year on a blank slate, shedding some of the baggage accumulated from past years, and looking to the next ten with hope. I think resolutions are useful when done right – the key is to be kind and reasonable with yourself.

Perhaps you have been sitting on a project that you just never got around to starting; you might want to take up a new hobby; make an uplifting playlist of fresh music; or re-connect with an old friend. Here, a defined list of priorities might be just necessary to get the ball rolling and you will inevitably feel more fulfilled – more so than those resolutions that are based upon self hate, and those that will undoubtably fizzle out, only fulfilling a sole purpose of making January that bit more blue.

All in all, I think that it is important to give yourself some credit for getting this far, and instead of re-inventing yourself this new year (or decade), alter your routines and give yourself room to escape any ruts or dead ends you have found yourself in – in this way you can grow.

Niamh Heron