Why I Refuse to Create New Year’s Resolutions in 2021

Angela Prendergast
Jan 2 · 3 min read
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Photo by Amy Shamblen on Unsplash

It is the start of a new beginning — a well waited for and highly anticipated new beginning. 2021 is here and seeing those numbers on the calendar proved that hope and optimism have finally entered the group chat.

A hope that 2021 will be at least 50% less of a dumpster dilemma than 2020.

And with every new year usually comes cheerful resolutions — as it should! But this year I will not be partaking in the usual tradition of sitting with my pen and diary in hand, ferociously thinking of ways to be better in the new year.

Here is why:

1. My resolutions are too subjective

Listen, I am all for setting and achieving goals. However, I feel as though setting resolutions or goals for the new year that are too broad can lead to disappointment.

I love a good “floss every night” or “fit into my favorite skinny jean” resolution. These are specific, however, as I reflect on my 2020 goal, I cannot help but feel disappointment.

Most were way too broad.

One resolution read, “stop being so hard on yourself.” As I sat there judging my outcome, wondering if I had achieved success or not, I began to realize just how subjective this goal was.

How can I measure it when I did not know the person I would be today — an entire year later?

I could not anticipate how future me would judge this outcome. What opinions and new lessons would shape whether I passed or failed this test. It is not measurable to the future self I had yet to meet.

I mean, I haven’t been cursing at myself every day, if that could be considered an achievement? But I certainly have been tough on myself — mainly because of the global pandemic that was unanticipated.

I was incredibly hard on myself in regards to adapting to a new “virtual” graduate school, attempting to learn a whole new teaching career during a pandemic (a career I was extremely grateful to still have), wedding planning, recovering from a serious surgery, etc.

Did I fail my goal?

I am exhausted from asking myself this after each year comes to an inevitable close. That is why these subjective and broad resolutions will no longer fly for me.

2. They promote outcomes, not the growth behind them

I have learned to focus on the process behind goals.

I have vices. And I sure as hell want to kick those vices. However, I want to focus on the process of kicking those vices.

Those small moments when I begin to lift my leg and my foot slowly connects with that vice — that is the moment I want to focus on!

When I set resolutions, I notice they focus solely on outcomes and whether they are achieved or not.

2020 taught me to let go of what I cannot control and, as a recovering perfectionist, I have acquired a new motto:

“Life is messy.”

Life is messy and this is where I am at in my life right now.

And that is okay. Because I am growing.

My resolutions are usually plagued with unrealistic, broad goals. I want to focus on the climb. The development. The growth.

Not the outcome, but the moving and shaking beneath it.

3. Be gentle with yourself during a global pandemic

We have had a tough year and this pandemic is not yet over.

Give yourself grace.

The last thing we should be doing is pressuring ourselves to achieve a goal or outlook that may not be realistic during this time.

Let us attempt to relax and take a breath as we enter 2021. This year will be electric in its own unique way, but we cannot predict it.

I will leave you with the promising motto from my beloved home team, the Philadelphia 76ers. Trust the Process.

-Angela

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