New Year, New You
Photographed by Devin Ricks of Skylar Seccia
By Anna Konen
2023, A fresh start, a new year, as the 365th day turns over into the first morning of 2023, you can finally become the person you have been wanting to be. Except you are so exhausted and hungover from last night’s activities that the gym will have to wait until tomorrow morning. You could not possibly stomach a treadmill right now, so instead tomorrow comes and you stay at the gym for four hours instead of the intended two to make up for what you failed to do yesterday.
January 2nd through the 7th passes and you are on top of your game. You have been sticking to your lettuce-only diet, walking seven miles every day, and have even been reading three chapters each night just as you promised yourself you would. You wake up on the 8th at 7am, two hours past your scheduled alarm time to make it to the gym and the defeat sets in. You are so overwhelmed by the 587 new year's resolutions you have made for yourself that you have burned out within the first week of the new year. You cannot read every day and waking up at 5am each morning to run your seven miles has hurt your body more than it has helped. Your coworkers are starting to get concerned each time you bring a different variant of leafy green for lunch and watch you move in slow motion as the bags under your eyes deepen and darken.
See, that is the problem with New Year's Resolutions. The idea of them is fabulous. The idea that you get a fresh start at doing your best and get to wake up on January 1st with a whole new perspective. For that first week in January, your seasonal depression has lessened and your hope for what is to come has heightened. You are euphoric. Until one thing leads to another, and your goal of self-actualization has turned into a goal of doing everything society is telling you will make you happy. Eat only protein. Now, eat like an herbivore. Carbs are a no unless you need energy, then load them up and spit them out! Run for an hour every day unless you want to walk, that is better for your heart anyway. Read at least 10 pages of a nonfiction book, and if you are too slow to read nonfiction, make it fantasy, and double that page count.
New Year's Resolutions, to be frank -- are complete and utter crap. The origin of these resolutions and intention behind them were of course good. The Babylonians were onto something 4,000 years ago when they pledged to mend all their crops properly in hopes of payment from their gods. The difference between then and now? People followed through on these resolutions because they made one, and they stuck to it. The resolution they made was for the betterment of an entire society. The resolutions we are making may start as something that could potentially be good for us but quickly morph into what we feel we must do. Instead of taking up an embarrassing but fulfilling hobby, our resolutions are made to meet an unrealistic set of standards put in place by a world that feeds off photoshop and fake lives portrayed on social media.
What to do about this predicament? The last thing I am telling you is that you should not believe in resolutions or starting anew, because the feeling of hope that a new year brings really is one of a kind and should be held onto. What I am saying is do not wait for the new year to bring these changes into your life but do it when YOU are ready. January 1st might be the perfect day for you to implement these changes into your life, but your best friend might need to wait until March 7th, and that is more than okay. The point of a New Year's Resolution is self-betterment, meaning your journey includes you and only you, not anyone that is telling you who you should be or what you should be doing, and certainly not anyone who is anything but supportive.
In addition to going on this journey yourself, be sure to choose the right resolution for yourself. No, not every resolution needs to be about going to the gym, eating healthier, or fitting into the standards that are constantly being shoved down your throat. This resolution should be something that you may have been wanting to try for a while but kept putting off. Something that has one goal, the purpose of making you a little bit better and happier each day. If for you, this does mean going to the gym so be it. If for you this means making dinner 3 times a week, awesome. If for you, this means trying a different kind of milk chocolate until you have narrowed it down to the best, amazing. It can be anything, anything that makes you happy, and fulfilled.
Life is short. I would rather spend it changing when I feel ready and getting an extra hour of sleep than pushing myself to limits, I may not be ready for. Instead of stressing about how I'm going to make it to the gym every day as I promise myself I will every January 1st, I would rather spend it finding fulfillment in people and experiences, good food, and even better memories. New year, New me, but only because I want to change, and only when I am ready to.