New Year, New Me: The Universal Sham
On the same day every year, people around the world indulge in a little self-reflection. Perhaps, they could have benefited more from this self-reflection had it been carried out on a more consistent basis as opposed to being prompted by an arbitrary social construction of time. Nevertheless, this brief moment of rumination typically culminates in a “New Years Resolution”; a scheme to confront perceived personal flaws, which is set to go into action within the next 24 hours.
The optimistic sentiment that motivates the creation of these New Years Resolutions is admirable; a stark contrast to the reality of their success (with few exceptions). Many begin the New Year severely hungover, and devoid of any cheerful spirit they exuded the night before; they are disappointed to confront the realisation that the illusion of imminent change may have been just that, an illusion. It is easy to see how the glamor and charm of New Years Eve can seduce even the skeptics into fool’s paradise; free-flowing alcohol to numb the senses, fireworks to blind you from unsightly truths, and a shared anticipatory flash of excitement resulting in The Countdown.
This countdown always feels a little anti-climatic, right? Almost as if the child in you expected a reverse Cinderella moment; that once the clock struck twelve, the world might just for a moment reverse all of its evils. After the initial thrill, you look around to find that everything is a blurry version of the same reality. You may be shocked to wake up and notice that you haven’t grown abs, purchasing bitcoins hasn’t made you a millionaire, your cheating boyfriend hasn’t become faithful overnight, and to top it off your bank account may have suffered damage from last night’s expenditures. Contrary to your beliefs, your next 365 days might end up being very similar to the ones that just went by.
Maybe declaring your New Years Resolutions to the world with a long quasi-philosophical caption on Instagram may not have been the best idea. Or maybe it served its purpose of convincing people within your small sphere of influence that you really are working towards becoming a better version of yourself. Whatever your motivations for creating and broadcasting your New Years Resolutions, convincing yourself that this one otherwise unexceptional day will inspire a drastic change in your life or fundamentally change a personality that you’ve developed over many years, will probably be counterproductive.
I apologise if this post comes off a little preach-y or condescending. I, just like everyone else, love a reason to celebrate and poison my liver but all this self-reflection had gotten me in the mood to do some of my own. I hope that your drive to accomplish your goals overpowers your urge to abandon them and that you don’t find yourself making the same resolutions on the following December 31st! Good luck and Happy New Year!