Do You Make New Years Resolutions?
Like every other Query, this one turned out to be more interesting than I anticipated. I really had no preconceived ideas about what people would say, and I was pretty curious. If I thought anything, it was that the responses would be about 50/50 “Yes” and “No”.
Ultimately, of the people I talked to, more of them do not make resolutions. The general consensus was, “Why make a resolution you’re not going to stick to?” But there were stronger opinions, as well:
New Years’ Resolutions are simply something that somebody started, that caught on, that no one follows up on. That’s all that it is…it’s a fake promise…hollow words. So I don’t do them.
That response made an impression on me, I think because I’ve been feeling so optimistic about the resolutions that I made. It seemed a rather dark comment, cynical, as though a person might make a resolution purposely to deceive. I don’t mean to say that’s how the comment was meant. I don’t know how it was meant, and I wish I had asked.
And then there’s this:
Sometimes for me, when you say you have a New Years Resolution, it doesn’t have a positive connotation. It’s almost like you know you haven’t met your goal, you’re not living up to your potential, or you’re not doing things the way you should be doing them. So you make this resolution to do better, or whatever, knowing the whole time that you’re not going to do better. But it’s almost like, here, I’m going to make this resolution – I’ve been failing at it all these years, or whatever, but I’m going to make this resolution and I’m not going to fail at it again. Then the first week, you’ve failed at it again.
That’s daunting. And for me, that’s familiar. I have felt that in the past, and it’s why I stopped making resolutions so long ago: they were just one more thing to feel bad about. Even as I wrote the resolution, I was telling myself that I would fail. But that goes back to optimism and belief in yourself.
As I said, I’m feeling more optimistic this year, and that’s what prompted me to make a few resolutions. I think attitude has a lot to do with it, and just who you are in general – all the variables exist for this question as for anything we do in our lives: personality type, life situation, mental and emotional state, etc. You have to know yourself and act accordingly.
For some, it is or would be an empty promise, hollow words. For some, it would be a waste of time, a futile exercise, because they don’t really want to do these things and will let them fall by the wayside pretty quickly. For some, it’s just a matter of making the decision to work really, really hard. But for some, making a resolution ends up being an emotional kick in the gut, because these are things that they want to do or change, but they don’t know how or they don’t have the physical, emotional, financial, mental, spiritual – whatever – resources to make it happen.
And for some, it’s just a matter of course: these are the things I want to work on, so let me get started.
Here is what some other people said:
Nadia: I do, just because I feel like it’s a tradition, but I don’t usually keep them. But as I get older, I try to make ones I can keep, rather than to make one just to make it. I don’t usually write it, but I usually tell people so I can be held accountable. If no one knew, then it would be easier to just break it.
Jessica: I don’t make New Years resolutions…I’m lazy. I’m not gonna do it. I can say that all the time, but I’m not gonna do it. I’ll do it for like two days and then I’ll quit.
Amanda B.: Yes. It’s a goal that I set for myself, which mine is to eat a whole lot healthier and to exercise more.
Abena: I don’t usually make New Year resolutions, because I never keep them. I just put in my mind that by the end of this year I want to do this, I want to maybe lose this amount of weight, or…do something, you know, maybe something I’ve never done before, I want to go somewhere. But I mean, I don’t put so much pressure on myself…you know, that if I don’t do it, it’s the end of the world, so I don’t make it like a resolution. I just say, I’d like to do this.
Aleisha: Yes, I do. I try to stick with them…because most people make one and never stick with it, and I try to be the one who sticks with it.
Jim: No. I’m not one that needs to be prompted by a calendar to do something.
Gloria: I want to be healthier in 2012, that’s why I’m going to the gym. Normally, I just improve mistakes I made in the past. I am looking forward to a better love life this year.
Kyle: No. I don’t know…I just don’t. I guess I kinda made one not to drink soda anymore. But I didn’t make it until a week later.
Dominique: Not any more. I don’t see the point; it’s just New Years.
–Donna: She sounds so enthusiastic.
Dominique: But it’s definitely gonna be a better year than 2011! So, I’m optimistic. I see the light.
Carleigh: No. I don’t, because I never follow through with them. It’s a waste of time. Like, you go on Facebook and see all these people with resolutions on there…and two weeks later, they’re broken. If they last that long.
Martha: No. ‘Cause I don’t stick with them, so why make ’em?
–Michelle: How about you guys?
Jacque: I don’t make them.
Jacque: Well, for one thing, I can’t keep up with what I have to do, much less making a resolution to do what I don’t do good better, you know. And it’s depressing when you fail.
–Tom: Here’s the thing: “New Years Resolutions” is a game for the young, because with youth, there’s hope.
Michelle: You don’t have no hope left?
–Tom: (laughing) No…with age, you start running out of hope.
Jacque: With me it’s not New Years resolution, it’s just hoping to get through the day.
Donna: I would say no. ‘Cause I usually don’t stick to them when I make them.
Sharon: No, ’cause I think it’s stupid. Nobody ever keeps them. And if you do make them, everyone makes the same ones, so the gym is overcrowded, or it’s to quit smoking, et cetera. I’ve been going to the gym all along, and January rolls around and here come all the band-wagoners taking up the machines that I’ve been using all along.
Amanda H: No. How come? Because I’ll never stick to ’em and there’s no point.
Lynn: Yes. ‘Cause I’m thankful to be alive for another year, and I always try to better myself.
–Michelle: Do you sit down and make a list, or do you just think in your head that “these are the things I want to accomplish this year”.
Lynn: I make a list.
–Michelle: Do you normally do it…
–Michelle: …why would I even ask that question…
Amanda H: It’s Lynn!
–Michelle: …of course she does.