New year, same me

Photo courtesy of Hannah Phillips

By Hannah Philipp | Guest Contributor

New Year’s Eve — the dawn before a fresh start, or a useless holiday with no real value? Viewed around the world as the time to finally decide to lose that weight or take that trip to Europe, the celebration of the new year is one that is highly anticipated by most Americans, as it presents a metaphorical clean slate.

But even amid all the allure of starting fresh, you still can’t help but wonder, “Where’s the magic that actually makes Jan. 1 any different than Dec. 31?” Does the new year serve as motivation to change bad habits, or is it just an excuse to prolong them until the beginning of the next year? Do we celebrate New Year’s in order to give ourselves an opportunity to do things differently, or do we do it just to feel like we’re leaning into an opportunity to do things differently with no real commitment to change?

Research by Strava has shown that Jan. 14 will be known as “Quitter’s Day,” which is the predicted day by which most people will lose their motivation to keep up their New Year’s resolutions and call it quits. By this time, it’s likely that the excitement of the new year will have worn off, and suddenly things will begin to feel less like a new era and more like they did 14 days before. In addition to this, other study reports show that only 8% of people will actually keep their New Year’s resolutions throughout the duration of the entire year. And for those of us who make it past Jan. 14, we’ll still likely be in the 92% of people who just can’t seem to stick to their New Year’s resolutions, according to to Forbes Magazine.

With these statistics in mind, it’s easy to become pessimistic about the goals we set for ourselves — I mean, why even try, right? But there’s still hope. While New Year’s resolutions might be a bust, that doesn’t mean that there isn’t a time for change. In fact, setting goals for yourself is a healthy part of human nature. Goal setting can motivate you to push through some of life’s toughest challenges and become more resilient and successful. So if you’re planning on changing something in your life, make sure to follow through. Just know that change isn’t dependent on a new year, but rather on how willing you are to strive to do what is important to you.