I don’t do New Year’s resolutions. And every year I’m sort of surprised what a big deal they still seem to be. I’m like, what? Do people actually still make New Year’s resolutions? Even though we know that most of them fail by the end of February? Well, judging by all the campaigns, ads, books, and products for a new/better/healthier you that I see all over the place, they really still seem to be quite hip – or at least a great sales opportunity.
It makes you wonder. Why is it, that come January, so many people want to change who they are and how they live? We seem to suffer from a collective bad conscience regarding weight, habits, and lifestyle choices. And according to Meenakshi Gigi Durham, author of The Lolita Effect: The Media Sexualization of Young Girls and What We Can Do About It (a very good book by the way, I recommend it warmly), manufacturers depend on this. Through advertising, manufacturers and advertisers create myths and goals, like unnatural body ideals to name one, which by definition are impossible to achieve ensuring that consumers, especially female consumers, keep coming back for more in the hope of finally achieving what has been promised. Even though they are striving for the impossible, if they think and hope it is possible, I guess it is no surprise if they feel that they just aren’t trying hard enough. However, unfortunately, if that is the case, no New Year’s resolution will do the trick either.
But have you considered this: maybe you don’t need to change; maybe you just need to give yourself a break? What if New Year’s resolutions fail so often because they mostly focus on things we may not really want to do anything about anyway? So here’s a thought, maybe we should stop obsessing about ourselves and instead focus on others. Maybe our resolutions need to be about spending more time with family and making a greater effort to gather and keep in touch with friends. Or maybe they should be about helping people we don’t even know but who really need help. This sounds like it might be much more fun and as an extra bonus it may just make us feel so good about things that we end up sticking to our resolutions. Think about it. Instead of turning inwards, let’s make resolutions that aren’t just about us.