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New Year New You, or Not

Katherine Idjunji l News Editor

3, 2, 1, Happy New Year… or maybe not.

With 2022 wrapped up, some may be beginning to envision New Year’s resolutions for 2023. People often reflect on their flaws and look to create goals to better improve themselves.

However, often times these goals are too big to reach or too large to maintain. In total, less than 8% of people actually stick to their New Year’s resolution, according to University of Alabama medicine.

People’s New Year’s resolutions are often too vague, have no plan, and have no real reward throughout the process. This is why many fail to be completed.

The ideology around the word “New” in the new year leads to an enormous amount of pressure to “start over” and improve in some way. However, this does not mean that when the clock strikes 12, the morals or routines that one embodies will change.

Change, in fact,, can take anyone three weeks and up to one year to fully complete. However, if one is already struggling with a mental illness, change may take even longer and failure to stick with a resolution can lead to more self-doubt and letdown.

The idea that resolutions should be an all or nothing goal is an unspoken rule in society today. Our culture ingrains the idea of punishing ourselves if we do not succeed at something, so when a resolution is not met, it will hurt, not help, our mental health in the end.

Some people may decide to make sure that their New Year’s Resolutions are SMART goals. These are goals that are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and timely.

Having goals with these qualities are often easier to define and meet. When setting SMART goals, it is important to track your progress, have patience, publicize your goals, put it on your schedule, and stop the “all or nothing” thinking.

However, society is moving towards more reachable goals and the idea of picking one word to focus on for the New Year. This idea is based on the booksOne Word that will Change your Life” and “My One Word.”

The idea of picking one word brings simplicity and focus to goals for the new year. This creates a broader umbrella and a more attainable and reachable goal.

The books teach people to choose their word in three steps.

One, determine the kind of person you want to become. Two, identify the characteristics of that person. And, three, discover and pick your word.

Picking your word often takes time and reflection, and sometimes it may feel like the word picks you.

Although there are alternatives to the stereotypical New Year’s resolutions, maybe the real solution is to focus more time and energy on taking care of one’s mental health. This can be done by having set aside mental health days or going to see a mental health professional when needed.

I am not opposed to having goals because they can sometimes encourage people to be a better version of themselves. However, it is important to take care of yourself and not get roped into the societal norms of having a New Year’s resolution.

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