We Go Harder Next Year: The Problem with Resolutions

Posted on Mon 27 December 2021 in Opinion

Photo from Tim Mossholder
Photo by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash

By Aniemeke Isioma Prisca

We Go Harder Next Year: The Problem with Resolutions

Change is a hard thing to come to terms with. It happens so fast that before you realize you're changing, you're already far gone. Things you used to like, you don't want anymore. People you used to love are now strangers. Your daily routine is no longer the same. It didn't happen one morning; it was a slow process. But it happened all the same.

Many people are scared of change. Why wouldn't they be? When you aren't sure of what's on the other side, you'd want to remain where you are. Also, the devil you know is better than the angel you don't know, right? Why shouldn't you be scared of change when you don't know what it'll bring with it?

But sometimes, we must strive for change, strive to be better. That is why we make plans and set resolutions. Because in the end, change is part of growth, and without frequent changes, one cannot grow.

Making plans or resolutions, however, isn't the easiest thing in the world to do, or following through with them is where the difficulty lies. How many people achieve what they've set out to? How many New Year's resolutions live after January?

If you're like me, you like to make big plans and write long lists. At the beginning of the year, I wrote my resolution list. It was a long one. Halfway through the year, my phone wiped, and so did my list. Can I remember all that I wrote there? No. Did I achieve half of what I wrote down? No.

The problem with resolutions is that we're too optimistic when we make them. It's a new year, and we're full of new energy. It's a new year, and suddenly, we can conquer the world—the resolution list becomes a wish list or a list of prayer requests.

I want to buy a car.

I want to lose weight.

I want to travel abroad.

This optimism leads to another problem, the resolutions we make most times aren't realistic. You want to buy a house by the end of the year, and you don't have a job or any savings. The resolution list is less of a wishlist and more a more. You have to work so that everything you write down can work out.

Another mistake we make when making resolutions is making decisions about others and not ourselves. Eating healthy is at the top of your list because what else is supposed to be there? You include getting a job on the list not because you want to get a job but because you should be getting a job according to society or family standards. So it becomes a case of knowing what you want but not knowing why you want it.

Resolutions can also be choking. It can get frustrating when things don't work out as planned or when the year's running out and you haven't ticked off all the items on your list. Yes, the pressure can drive you crazy, and it gets worse if it doesn't affect you alone like you're under pressure from friends and family or competition with other people.

The importance of making resolutions is most times overlooked. It is not just a list; it is a guide. It reminds you what you want your year to look like and what you want to do.

It is essential to understand that your New Year's resolutions don't have to be grand. A solution can be to stop biting your nails or start brushing your teeth twice every day. You don't have to set gigantic goals that'll end up making you feel like a loser at the end of the year.

The thing is, resolutions come with deadlines, but you'll most likely miss them. When your keys are unrealistic, you'll most likely carry them over to the following year. We go harder next year.

It's December, and many people (including me) do not remember the resolutions they made in January. This means your keys have a low chance of survival, especially if they're too many. So, as you plan to go harder next year, plan to go SMART.

Your goals have to be specific and straightforward for them to work. If you want to lose weight, how much weight do you want to lose? If you're going to start a business, how much is your budget? If you want to read more books, how many books do you want to read? By being precise, tracking your progress will be easier.

Your goals also need to be measurable because how else would you know if they're working out? So whether you want to smile more, go out more or stop biting your nails, you need to ensure you can measure your progress.

Setting achievable goals is vital if you don't feel like a failure. You're allowed to dream big but not too big to the point where the resolution takes over your life and other goals that you have.

There should be a "why" behind every goal you set for yourself. This means that your plans have to be relevant without having any driving force or motivation to achieve the goals. This is why it is essential to set goals for you and not for others. It has to matter to you before you can be invested in making it work.

Lastly, your goal has to be timely; that is, you have a timeline for each plan. If you're giving yourself a year, you shouldn't wait till it's December to start working on the resolution. Instead, it would help if you planned in bits. That is, where you want to be by the end of January, then February, and so on.

So the year is almost up, and why some are glad about how far they've come this year, some of us aren't happy about it. This is why there are second chances and why next year, we plan to go harder and strive better in achieving our resolutions.

Aniemeke Isioma Prisca is a student of English at the University of Ibadan, Oyo State, Nigeria. She is a campus journalists, a writer and the owner/host of the Naija-ish podcast. Many of Prisca's stories and articles have been published on various websites. Connect with her on LinkedIn and on Twitter.