Earlier this month I was talking with a family friend who owns and operates a successful donut shop in Lakeside. Owning a donut shop comes with a variety of challenges, but the most interesting to me was the fact that at the beginning of every new year, from about Jan. 1 to the 15, the business experiences less profit due to the amount of people who have given up sugar and sweets as part of their New Year’s resolutions.
But after the 15th, he told me business is normally back to usual. That’s because two weeks seems to be the standard expiration date for most people’s new year goals.
The same trend can be seen in other businesses. Gym memberships usually spike at the beginning of a new year, but then subside as it continues. People want to make a positive change in their lives, but are typically most motivated only during the first few weeks.
Almost every one of us has failed a New Year’s resolution. Some of us don’t even make any because we know we’d likely fail either way. There seems to be this stigma with resolutions that if you are going to fail at them, there is no point in trying.
I want us to break from that mindset.
At the beginning of 2020, I forgot to make resolutions. I didn’t really think about it until New Year’s Eve, and by that time I was having too much fun with family and friends to care. It wasn’t until several days into January that I remembered I could have used this year to turn a new leaf and accomplish the goals I’ve always wanted to work towards.
I felt like it was too late. I felt I needed to wait until next year to really turn that new leaf. But that is an awful way of thinking, and I realized this a few days later.
So I then did something I recommend everybody do to start this new year right. I made a list of five substantial things I would change about myself and try to achieve this year, ranging from spending less time on YouTube to playing the guitar more. So far I have found this to be extremely helpful in motivating me to better myself as a person. I was afraid it was too late for me to really turn a new leaf this year, but it was not.
And the best part of my list of resolutions is that I’ve already failed them all! I haven’t played the guitar everyday, and I haven’t limited my time on YouTube as much as I should. But that’s what makes my resolutions so effective: they are difficult. I didn’t pick five pointless tasks that wouldn’t help me grow. I didn’t settle for trivial goals which I would finish in a week. Real change takes time, so your resolutions need to reflect that.
Therefore, you should not be afraid to fail your resolutions — not even in the slightest. They exist to be failed, then to be remedied and improved upon. They should take time to get right, and if they don’t, you aren’t aiming high enough. When you fail one, try it again. There is no rule that says resolutions must begin at the start of a year. If you need to, make another list in February, and another in July and another in November. It doesn’t matter. All that matters is your willingness to accept consistent and incremental change in your life, as such change will become substantial over time.
So make your list of New Year’s resolutions, and never be afraid to fail and start again.
Patrick Doyle is a freshman studying journalism and political science. Follow him @PatrickDoyle100.