Toxic New Year resolutions


By Emily Lidgard, Second Year, English

The Croft Magazine // As 2022 begins many of us take the chance to set up new resolutions to 'improve' ourselves in the new year. However, often these resolutions surround weight and unrealistic goals that set us up for disappointment. How can we make these resolutions more achievable?

The dust has not settled on the party poppers and novelty glasses before we start to look forward to our new year. And with our new year, we imagine ourselves as new people: happier, more successful, and crucially, thinner. Last year, the two most common resolutions were to lose weight and to exercise more frequently. December’s festive spirit is abandoned and replaced with puritanical 'bettering'. New Year’s Day produces a miserable crowd of calorie-counting, disciplined dieters.

Enjoy your new year, instead of focusing on how to change yourself | Epigram / Emily Fromant

The culture around resolutions encourages people year in and year out to aspire to alter their bodies like a disturbing holiday tradition. We forget the community we found eating Christmas dinner with our family, the joy found in our ritualistic squabbling to get the best chocolates and the comfort found in warm mugs shared with old friends. Diet culture ignores these moments. We look away to scales and count numbers and believe our salvation lies in a couple of less inches in our waistband. When these impossible resolutions are broken (like 80% of New Year’s Resolutions do, according to one study), we believe we have lost our new and improved self.

And if we succeed, then what? Weight loss is celebrated as a process that will transform you. The reality of this, however, is disappointing. These unrealistic goals will not fix our lives and self-improvement does not come from changing your clothing size. The reality is, the goals are unsustainable.

Resolutions usually involve unrealistic goals, even if they are created with the best intentions. Many people set unachievable standards - work out everyday, loose a x amount of weight in only a few weeks, read this many new books. Resolutions have become less about subtle self improvement and more around changing yourself as quickly as possible. New Year resolutions can be incredibly helpful if created with the right though process behind them. They shouldn't be about hating your old self, or remaking yourself completely, instead focusing on your own happiness and taking care of yourself more. Set yourself realistic goals: workout twice a week, go to bed an hour earlier, read one book a month. Therefore, we can begin to truly improve our happiness and set the tone for the new year, instead of setting ourselves up for failure.  

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So, what should your New Year’s Resolution be for 2022? There are lots of different ways that you can take better care of yourself without damaging yourself. Dr Mark Rowe advises that ‘It’s much better to focus on positive goals. It’s the butterfly effect – small changes can have large consequences’. Incremental changes can be as small as waking up twenty minutes earlier, but the forming of these behaviours will help to improve your routine and ultimately, your wellbeing. Instead of changing your body this year, one impactful resolution would be to change the way you view it. You can achieve this through little habits from finding ways that you appreciate your body to practicing speaking kindly to yourself. Let’s try to leave behind punishing ourselves in 2022 and transform our beliefs, not our appearances

Featured image: Unsplash / Hello I'm Nik

What are your New Year resolutions? Let us know!