Ambassador voices: Why I don’t do New Year’s resolutions

Illustration shows a young woman wearing pink looking in the mirror, holding a sign that reads: "I don't need to change to achieve what I want"

My name is Rachel Elder. I am an English Literature student at the University of Edinburgh and a Young Ambassador for The Mix, most recently involved in The Body and Soul Club.

The ‘New Year, New Me’ hype is plastered across various media platforms each and every year. And each year a mass of well-intentioned people set themselves a set of goals or resolutions to achieve within the year in a valiant effort to become a better version of themselves. For that first month of the New Year we try desperately to convince ourselves that joining the gym, starting a trendy crash diet and limiting ourselves to one cup of coffee a day will somehow add value to our self-worth.

As idealistic as the ‘New Year, New Me’ concept may appear, over the past few years an alternative view on New Year’s resolutions has become increasingly popular. And, if we take some time to think about it, it isn’t hard to see why.

On New Year’s Day this year, I was sat at a table with a group of friends when the topic of New Year’s resolutions came up. We went around the table, each person giving their resolutions for the year and receiving praise for their ambition in return.

When it got to me, I simply said “Nothing.” I was met with stares and disbelief. “I don’t have any,” I explained. Once the confusion and awkward comments subsided, the topic was dropped from conversation rather quickly.

Setting new goals is a brilliant way to motivate yourself towards achieving things such as reading a certain number of books, getting a new job, or a certain grade in an exam. Having goals is no problem. The issue lies with us striving to create a ‘new me’ instead of a ‘new goal’.

We can all grow and learn and develop, but we don’t need to force new personal attributes upon ourselves as though the us that we were yesterday is suddenly no longer good enough, merely because the cover page on the calendar has changed.

Perhaps we shouldn’t be focussed on creating a new appearance or adopting new personality traits that media etc tells us is admirable. Perhaps, if we are telling ourselves that a ‘new me’ is necessary, then it is that view towards ourselves that should be changed.

Focus on being more compassionate towards who you already rather than aspiring to transform yourself into something that you are not. Because there is simply nothing wrong with what you contribute to the world as the person that you already are. You are good enough and valued, regardless of where you are along life’s path.

I do not have any New Year’s resolutions because I know that I worked hard last year. I believe that the person I was last year was good enough to find success, good enough for my friends and family. I do not need to change to achieve what I want to in the coming year, and neither do you.

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Updated on 31-Jan-2020

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