The case for making New Year’s resolutions

Showing purposefulness on Jan. 1 is great, but what about the rest of the year?

Welcome to 2018! While 2017 may have been a dream or a nightmare for you, one thing is true for all of us — it’s over.

New Year’s Eve is my favourite night of the year. The whole day and night buzzes with anticipation, as in each time zone that special moment strikes and everything starts anew.

The slate of the previous 365 days is wiped clean, and a fresh start begins at the stroke of midnight. The moment is magical, whether you’re in Times Square watching the ball drop and kissing the love of your life, or watching a television feed of the ball drop while kissing a slice of pizza.

With the stroke of midnight also comes the bittersweet announcement of New Year’s resolutions — the one time of year in which large portions of the population swear to do away with old habits and become whatever they desire, be it healthier, happier, richer or smoke-free.

The tradition of the New Year’s resolution dates back to Babylonians wanting to pay off their debts and start fresh at the beginning of each year, and other cultures and religions engaging in similar practices.

Since then, the popularity of setting resolutions may have waned. An Ipsos poll conducted in 2015 found that while over half of Canadians believe it’s important to start the year off with new goals and intentions, only 31 per cent actually make resolutions.

This may be because of those who do make resolutions, 73 per cent don’t end up following through. Many find that making New Year’s resolutions is a useless endeavour, destined to end in disappointment.

On Jan. 1, 2018, astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson tweeted this, to the chagrin of many of his 11 million followers (many of whom pointed out he’d tweeted something similar the day before — and last year): “Not that anybody’s asked, but New Years Day on the Gregorian Calendar is a cosmically arbitrary event, carrying no Astronomical significance at all.”

As much as I hate to admit it, he’s kind of right. So when we find ourselves faltering on the resolution we thought would change our lives, let’s remember that every new year brings 365 new days, each one an opportunity to resolve to be better.

If you’ve forgone resolutions, it’s never too late to make them. If you swore to cut out sweets and a week into January you’ve eaten a whole box of leftover Christmas chocolates, that resolution to eat healthier shouldn’t dissolve into dust.

It’s never too late, in the month or the year, to resolve to be the person you want to be.