In the fresh and early days of January, we fall into a transitional period where we try to remember that a new year is upon us as we continue to write the previous year at the top of our papers.
Just as we struggle to break these writing habits, we struggle to break our old habits in an attempt to figure out who we want to be, or rather who we think we should be for the new year.
Yes, we’re talking about New Year’s resolutions: the age-old tradition of conjuring up some idealized version of yourself and deciding on a grand lifestyle change that will take you one step closer to that image of yourself.
Contrary to popular belief, you don’t actually have to wait until the start of a new year to make a change in your life. So, let’s dissect the hype surrounding New Year’s resolutions and why they are overrated.
New Year’s resolutions have become yet another holiday cliché that we engage in simply because we “have to”, like eating turkey on Thanksgiving even though everyone knows, but is too afraid to say, that it simply does not live up to the pressure of being a main dish. But I digress.
Of course, I can see the appeal of using the start of a new calendar year as a signifier for reinventing yourself. But it can also act as an excuse to put your goals off until January, a sort of “I’ll start next year” mentality, if you will.
Now don’t get me wrong, I am a huge proponent for taking steps to better yourself; we should never stop striving for greatness.
But here lies my point, why wait until January 1 to strive for greatness? What makes that day different than any other day of our lives?
I have never understood the social pressure to come to a monumental decision about the trajectory of your life on Jan. 1. It seems almost counterproductive to arrange the pieces of our lives in such a way because our calendars tell us the scheduled time for us to make a lifestyle change has come. Since when has life worked out in such a neat and timely way?
After all, time is an illusion we have been made to perceive, so Jan. 1 never really existed anyways. But once again, I digress.
I realize that poking at the foundation of an arbitrarily decided upon cultural phenomenon can lead to a slippery slope of questioning the basis of all of our social norms. But after the turbulent and chaotic year that 2020 was, why not ask the hard questions?
Tomorrow is never promised, much less Jan. 1. If there is something deep in your heart of hearts that you know you want to do, do it today. Every day can’t be the start of a new year, but every day can be the start of a new dawn in your life.