On New Year’s Resolutions

Growing up, I really didn’t care for New Year’s. (A large part of the reason was that I often would continue to write the previous year as the date in my homework for several months, sometimes getting marked down on assignments.) After all, aside from the numerical increase of the date, I never really felt like there was anything new about the new year. It would be kind of cool if all of the technological and societal changes that 2016 holds happened at once — like giving the world a collective operating system upgrade. But that is only possible in virtual reality.

A friend of mine often says, “You can’t put a number on time,” which is a joke because you can, and as a society, we do. And unlike the months and days of the weeks, which were created fairly arbitrarily, a year represents the earth’s completion of a lap around the sun.

In my family, New Year’s Eve is a time to celebrate with friends, so my parents, sister and I will do our own thing, then share stories of our wild night the next afternoon. On Jan. 1, we also share our New Year’s resolutions and best memory from the previous year. While it’s not as invigorating of a New Year’s ritual as that of the Coney Island Polar Bear Club, which takes an ice-water dip in the Atlantic Ocean each Jan. 1, it always gives me a sense of comfort and motivation to start the new year.

While it’s statistically unlikely that you will stick to your New Year’s resolution, it can be a good time to become self-aware of faults you’d like to work on. Yet, despite the hope I might start with, I can’t help but feel a sort of ambivalence toward New Year’s resolutions.

I remember one year, I was pressured by my mom to make a resolution to keep my room cleaner, and another year, I was coerced into making it be to stop leaving things around the house. Yet, these are things I still struggle with, even now in my own apartment at 31 years old.

For a while, I wasn’t making very good New Year’s resolutions, until one year I resolved to make better New Year’s resolutions. This is the only resolution that I have stuck to.

This year, I’m going basic bitch and making one of the most generic resolutions possible: to exercise more. Even though I already ride a bike daily, a little bit more goes a long way. Before a knee injury this summer, I had been on a months-long kick of jogging just one mile every morning, and it was amazing how much better I felt throughout the day.

Whatever you resolve and however you celebrate, remember to change the date. And if you’ve struggled with changing the date in the past, maybe it could be a good resolution for this year.