New Year, New Me

by June Kim, Melinda Yung and Emma Zhang, Opinions Reporters
graphic by Tamar Yeret

5 … 4 … 3 … 2 … 1 …  From the pandemic to countless other disasters, 2020 has been eventful to say the least. Thus, the year ahead is certainly filled with anticipation. As the year comes to an end, it is time to start thinking about our annual New Year’s resolutions. 2020 has caused us to completely restructure our lives, raising the question of whether New Year’s resolutions just might be an element to let go. 

Throughout the years, “Live in the moment” is a phrase we always hear from relatives, friends and teachers. More specifically, we hear this phrase when we overthink our futures and fall down a rabbit hole worrying about our deepest fears. In hopes of flourishing in the upcoming year, we set objectives for ourselves and call them New Year’s resolutions. These goals, whether big or small, are set to hold ourselves accountable for the upcoming year. With these resolutions in mind, we hope to improve ourselves or completely start over after reflecting on the past year. These goals are going to be what sets this year apart from the others.

Regardless of one’s 2020 experience, it’s important to self reflect. Looking back on our past year helps us acknowledge our progress and identify ways that we can develop. Humans are driven by the inclination to constantly improve — a new year provides the perfect opportunity to look back and set the stage for the following year, and creating resolutions allows us to do so with greater intentionality.

A new year means turning over a new leaf: whatever happened in the past is left in the past, and there is hope for a brighter future. The new year provides a sense of liberation because there are countless opportunities, known and unknown, waiting for you. Setting goals for the new year is the first step in pulling out a clean sheet of paper to write a whole new chapter in our lives. 

It’s no secret that the majority of people fail to stay accountable to their resolutions almost immediately after the new year. We often idealize an unrealistically perfect version of ourselves that simply isn’t attainable in a year’s time, causing us to set abstract and unrealistic goals. Before long, when we don’t see visible results, discouragement provokes us to abandon our resolutions, even those that might be possible with more time. 

By setting tangible and specific goals rather than forcing an illusive persona upon ourselves, however, our resolutions can and will be more effective. If sustaining a lifestyle for a whole year seems daunting, break your resolution up into smaller monthly or weekly goals. Ask yourself why you set the goal and how you will achieve it. With a clear motive and an approachable plan, the small wins will keep you going.

Even if you don’t follow through with the resolution, be proud that you took the time to reflect on the past year and believed in yourself enough to seek new opportunities. The desire to improve ourselves is the first toward realizing our dreams.

So, no matter how crazy your year was or how much you believe in New Year’s resolutions, take time at the end of December to reflect on this past year. Face 2021 with optimism and a sense of purpose, but be gentle on yourself if your goals don’t go according to plan. Remember that next year holds another birthday, another school year and a whole lot of new opportunities. It’s finally time to consider the age-old question again: what are your New Year’s resolutions?