New Year’s Resolutions

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Shawn Rodeffer, Reporter

Five, four, three, two, one, Happy New year! The clock strikes midnight on December 31st.

So where does it all begin? First in a small country called Samoa and the Christmas Islands (ironically), then onto New Zealand. Next, the time zones pass across the vast continent known as Australia, then Japan, China, and India, almost covering as if it were a blanket being pulled across the globe. Now onto New York and of course, Wesley Chapel since we too are in the Eastern time zone.
This year it will happen at midnight on Friday, December 31st, 2020 for us. The process that started on Thursday at 5 AM Eastern time in that tiny place called Samoa, a day earlier, has reached us. Eventually, it moves onto Polynesia and American Samoa, and the process finally ends in a small place known as the US Outlying Islands (Baker Island and Howland Island) at 7 AM Eastern Time on Friday, just 7 hours after we have celebrated.

New Year’s begins on the far right and cascades across to the left, to end at the far left. Map courtesy of Bing images

Now more than ever, these are words the entire world cannot wait to hear. With the ringing in of the new year, comes the hope of new beginnings, the hope of fresh starts and happier times. With the new year also comes resolutions.
So, what is a New Year’s Resolution? As defined by Merriam-Webster.com, simply put a resolution is the act of answering or solving something, and beginning it on January 1st is a way to mark the new year and start fresh. Making resolutions for the New Year is said to date back some 4,000 years when the Babylonians would make promises to the gods to pay their debts or they would make promises to return any objects they had borrowed. If they kept to their promise, their gods would bestow favor on them for the coming year. If not, they would fall out of the gods’ favor with the expectation of a dreadful year.

Today, resolutions tend to be more focused on health and prosperity. As stated by you.gov, 50% of American’s 2020 resolution was to exercise more, followed by saving money at 49% but ironically, only 29% of Americans said they were confident they would stick with their resolution. So that begs the question, why are over 60% of people that make a resolution, setting themselves up for failure on day one of a new year. Isn’t this counterintuitive?

Maybe making New Year’s resolutions are being subliminally forced upon us. If you watch live TV in December, you know every other commercial is for a gym membership. Maybe TV marketing is messing with our brains to make us think having a membership will make us go to the gym and make us healthier; when in fact, a USA Today article noted that 67% of memberships go unused. That means more than half the people paying never step foot in the gym they’re paying for, and they’re probably bound by contract to continue paying for at least a year. That’s a lot of money wasted on unsuccessful resolutions. So much, in fact, about 1.8 billion dollars a year is spent on unused memberships by 5 million Americans, according to Finder.com

Is there an alternative to this madness? Maybe the problem is that we aren’t setting the right goals for ourselves. Business Insider spoke with psychotherapist Jonathan Alpert and when asked what the biggest reason for New Year’s resolution failure he said, “One of the biggest reasons people fail to keep their New Year’s resolutions is because they’re not specific enough…” So maybe this year instead of just saying you want to lose weight, be more specific and say you want to lose X amount of weight in Y number of months. There must be a better way. Maybe create a bucket list of things to do in your life. Maybe focus on a troubled area you have and really try to improve even just one small item. Maybe create a list of things to look forward to; spend more time with friends, check out new restaurants, walk to work, check out every store at a mall. We might find that in trying to achieve our bucket list or that list of things to do, we end up walking 15,000 steps a day instead of the 10,000-step goal that you had planned to give ourselves with that “New Year’s Resolution” you decided to not make.
Finally, I end with this quote from John Lennon, “Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.” So, don’t stress over your resolution. Don’t punish yourself for missing a workout or eating a piece of candy. Get out there. Live life to its fullest. Live life even fuller than you ever have. Chances are, you’ll be much happier (and even still have that money in your pocket that’s not paying for a gym membership).

Sources
https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/resolution#:~:text=1%20%3A%20something%20decided%20on%20a,a%20resolution%20to%20the%20dispute.
https://www.timeanddate.com/counters/firstnewyear.html
https://www.history.com/news/the-history-of-new-years-resolutions
https://today.yougov.com/topics/lifestyle/articles-reports/2020/01/02/new-years-resolutions-2020-health-finance
https://www.usatoday.com/story/money/personalfinance/2016/04/27/your-gym-membership-good-investment/82758866/
https://www.businessinsider.com/new-years-resolutions-failure-advice-jonathan-alpert-2018-12#:~:text=One%20of%20the%20biggest%20reasons,enough%2C%20Alpert%20told%20Business%20Insider.&text=%22It’s%20easier%20to%20drop%20out,%2C%22%20Alpert%20told%20Business%20Insider.

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