Has 2020 killed new years’ resolutions?
For the first time, I have not heard one single soul talk about new year’s resolutions. I haven’t even seen the usual amount of iffy diet and exercise routines being advertised on social media. I don’t know if it’s because people are re-using their abandoned resos from 2020, or if the year was just traumatic enough to make us rethink the whole concept.
I haven’t been one for resolutions for a number of years. I’m not a fan of new years overall, having had a few too many traumatic NYE nights. I stayed up to watch the clock tick over last night, but it’s been the first time I’ve seen in the new year for a couple of years. And I was in bed. And I was soundly asleep by 12:10am.
After a wave of ‘good riddance 2020’ posts around the start of December, then another wave of ‘just because it’s new year, nothing’s going to change’ talk shortly after, I think the world collectively burnt out. I saw a rise of people staying in this NYE on my feeds, and not just because of the pandemic.
While some people like the freshness of a new year, resolutions appear to be phasing out. There is more of a focus on goal setting or seasonal changes that align with the start of a new school or uni semester, or a new job.
While I’ve been writing, I’ve been thinking. Are resolutions for people who are unhappy? Are they a way for people to feel as though they’re claiming their life back, getting ‘back on track’? Most resos have some kind of tie to what society tells us is success. Weight loss, money gain, less alcohol, more books, taking up meditation, quitting chocolate.
The more I think about it, the more I’m feeling that resolutions are often about capitalism. How many times have you bought something in order to start fresh, or change your life. Activewear, planners, health foods, and gym memberships are some of the worst offenders. Many resolutions, and the ads that surround them, prey on the disenfranchised or susceptible.
2020 changed a lot of things. The pandemic has impacted the way we live and will continue to for a long time. The year was tiring, and at some points seemed never-ending. Maybe we’re just too exhausted to write our resolutions. Maybe they will be back for 2022. But I hope they aren’t. Time is a construct and the person you are on 31 December is the person you’ll be on 1 January.
That’s not to say goal setting can’t be productive. Lots of people thrive with set goals. I’m not one of them, but I know a few. I’m the person who operates best with spurts of energy and productivity, and I am comfortable abandoning goals and projects that don’t serve me. The idea of yearly (or even monthly) goals does not spark joy in me. In fact, it sparks dread.
2020 was pretty good to me overall. Or maybe that takes away my agency. I was good in 2020. I worked hard, and I was lucky enough to be minimally affected by COVID. So I won’t say good riddance to 2020, but I will say farewell to resolution setting.