New Year's Resolutions are invigorating for some and dread-inducing for others. Self-improvement and focusing on personal - rather than corporate or prescribed goals is foreign and difficult to conceptualise for those whose essence and personal goals have been obscured by external obligations. The idea and timing of New Year's resolutions may feel arbitrary and customary. But the new year offers a vital opportunity for us to become empowered to make constructive change in our life, and begin prioritising activities that benefit ourselves.

This brings me to the first pitfall of new year's resolutions. Being that, due to pressure or expectation to make them, people end up making new year's resolutions which do not pertain to their personality and life, but instead pertain to the popular method of self-improvement of the age. Whether that be dieting, walking 10,000 steps, or reading many books - all of which are grueling, draining, and unsustainable for a person without interest or experience in these fields. So, why does this occur?

New year, new me can be a toxic mindset which perpetuates a cycle of failure. Reinvention leads to feelings of inadequacy. For this year's new year's resolutions do not challenge yourself to be something you are not: a ‘new you’, an imaginary idealised mold of a superhuman who doesn’t exist within any realm of your past experiences, likes and dislikes. It is uncharitable and unrealistic to set yourself new years resolutions which you fundamentally do not have the means for, temporally or otherwise. Resolutions should center you, not an intangible pressure to fit society's expectations of productivity. Instead, lean into radical self-acceptable and enhancement of your already existing positive habits as well as your core unfulfilled needs and goals, and focus your resolutions on meeting your fundamental and necessary needs. For inspirational resolutions and goals, you must know yourself and know your schedule. Ascertaining and visualising that you surely can achieve something is a powerful motivator.

For a student consolidating what one has learned at least weekly, or for all of us drinking 7 cups of water a day are needed crucially to meet health needs or keep stress at bay. Before feelings of physical, mental, and logistical stability- building upon this to reach new heights of improvement is likely unsustainable. Furthermore, achievable goals, although they may seem overly simple and frivolous to set, may have previously not got the focus they deserve and can be left unattended to without organisation and motive surrounding them. The accessible achievement of such hack the feelings of success one gets from maintaining a new year's resolution.

An easy way to visualise the meeting of your resolutions is to instead view them as habits that exist as a tool to serve you and which compound towards your goal or maintain your goal. For example, instead of resolving to write a book in the new year, resolve to write a page a day. Implement your habits and keep them up. You can monitor such habits with a habit tracker for instance, which you can creatively draw up yourself. Yet, when monitoring habits do not cultivate compulsion, as always recognise your human dynamism and prioritise your basic physiological needs. Make sure you internally reward yourself for meeting and sustaining your goals. The self-help doctrine encourages us to never be satisfied, but contentment and benign stagnation, for instance, continuous reading of at least 10 pages a day, can be a good thing if you are where you want to be in your habit. Of course, progression is often natural and gratifying but pressure should not be felt to always up the anti - you don’t have to fix what ain’t broke. What is most important is sustained contentment and feelings of growth and culmination.


In short, New Year's Resolutions often fail because they are unsustainable, hard to visualise, and most importantly impersonal. People often forget to contextualise their resolutions within their current life, scheduling, and personality leading to voided motivation or means to succeed in completing their resolutions. Prioritise yourself in your resolutions and treat them as habits towards contentment.