I am calling for a boycott of the New Year’s Eve boorish companion, the resolution. These vows are a losing proposition, a setup for failure that’s often fueled by copious amounts of alcohol. We all know what alcohol does to confidence, to judgement, not to mention how it impacts the urge to make rash declarations in front of everyone.
Nothing good comes from that. Ever.
Worse still is that now you’re stuck with that resolution and get to stick with it during what’s arguably the bleakest time of the year. The heart of the long, cold winter. Only one long weekend. It takes everything most of us have just to make it through the day, never mind adding the challenge of accomplishing anything.
When I smoked cigarettes I used to dread New Year’s Eve. I knew what was coming — the expectation from everyone (even strangers since you could smoke in public back then) that I’d quit. This year would be the year I’d put those nasty, smelly cigarettes aside for good. Except it never worked, I was never really ready, though I felt pressured to be. Each failure hit harder than the one before, ganging up on my confidence. My eventual triumph over nicotine came as the result of a bad chest cold in early fall… as far removed from New Year’s Eve as you can get.
New Year’s Resolutions are a longstanding tradition, and no one can argue that it’s important to try to improve yourself — to eat healthier, to be more active, to better with money, to be more present for the people who need you. To make a change that makes your life better. I’m all for self-improvement. What I have trouble with is the enforced timing. The pressure to come up with a worthy resolution to share with those around you at a particular point in time. Add to this the customary alcohol intake of most people on New Year’s Eve and you can see how confidence can be buoyed, judgement skewed, rash declarations made in front of witnesses.
Nothing good comes from that. Truly.
What New Year’s Resolutions make us forget is that our unhealthy habits help distract us from difficult emotions like sadness, anger, loneliness, guilt or just plain old boredom. Things we all want to avoid. So we eat too much to keep from feeling lonely, spend too much to make up for what we think we lack, drink too much to find relief from the pain. Experts say that until you address what’s driving your unhealthy habits, you can’t begin to stop doing the. Certainly not at the stroke of midnight on a winter evening.
It’s a shame how many of us feel compelled to make some sort of resolution, ready to not to actually follow through. It’s like being set up to fail at something you declared to everyone you could do. Not exactly an ego boost. And certainly not offering the best odds for success. The thing is, life gives us enough reasons to feel awful, to toss and turn at night, to keep us worrying that we hardly need another.
Especially one we give to our very own selves. So who’s with me? Decide not to torture yourself this year. Make no resolutions. Do not fall in with this tradition unless you are 100% ready to make that change. In March, you’ll thank me.