New Year, New Me, New Honesty

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Photo: Youth Are Awesome

Photo: Youth Are Awesome

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Getty Images

Photo: Youth Are Awesome

Kamya Sanjay, Editor-in-Chief

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Around the arrival of the New Year I often notice that self awareness becomes the Great American Pastime. As a nation, our mantra becomes “new year, new me!” and, as per societal convention, the community begins a pilgrimage to “enlightenment” and “self betterment” accompanied by public declarations of change on social media, excessive to-do-listing, and perhaps some forced meditation. Maybe it is disappointing that this spirit of growth and development never lasts long. The “New Year’s resolution” fulfills an intrinsically human desire to reward oneself through growth and ensure prosperity through self empowerment. And all in all, the desire is noble. But what is the real point of making New Year’s resolutions when the follow through is never significant enough to bring lasting happiness?

I’ve always wondered why we make New Year’s resolutions, break them, violently self deprecate as punishment, and then repeat the vicious cycle every year. Statistics posit that around 40% of Americans establish goals for the New Year but only 8% of the same individuals ever realize these resolutions. For the first time this year I did not go out of my way to set any dramatic goals for 2018. Disgruntled at the prospect of my life becoming busy again after a long period of relaxation, I lay in my bed, wrapped in three blankets on a freezing New Year’s eve, and thought to myself that there really was no point. “For you, Kamya, it’s ‘new year, same damn me.’”

Now, part of me wishes that I was the type of person who could commit to goals with more fervor and dedication. Another part of me “understands” that I am spontaneous in choosing what to accomplish and that I should see where life takes me instead of making promises to myself that I can never keep. I am lying to myself either way. Most people are when they try to make a resolution that is JUST RIGHT: they set the bar too high and lie to themselves, convincing their minds that they can accomplish ANY goal, no matter how elusive or insurmountable. Or they set the bar too low and lie to themselves, thinking that setting any harder goal for themselves would be highly unattainable and unrealistic. OR they don’t set a bar at all and lie to themselves, thinking that they are too perfect to set any goals period.

Every situation involves a modicum of dishonesty. People are unable to dig deeper within themselves and find the types of goals that they should really be setting. And I think that’s ultimately the problem with New Year’s resolutions: the distinct lack of candor. Around this time of year my news feeds are inundated with editorial after editorial postulating why we can never keep the goals that we set for ourselves.

In my humble opinion, it is not the size of the goal that should concern us as we strive for self improvement. It is whether or not the resolution fits our needs. It is the intent. It’s not about choosing to change your life completely in the new year, nor is it about resolving to achieve the bare minimum as an ego boost. And it is certainly not about thinking so highly of yourself that you leave no room for growth. Self betterment can only occur when one truly has an acute sense of his needs, his aspirations, and his motivations. Before making commitments to any other goal we should strive for honesty- honesty towards our peers, our relatives, our communities, and most importantly to OURSELVES. By guaranteeing ourselves this honesty we can better foster a state of mind that is devoid of harsh judgment and self hatred. Rather than making resolutions that are contingent on our insecurities and that make us feel worthless as human beings if we fail to realize them, we should set goals that serve as critical reflections. Goals that target our weaker points without rendering us defenseless, but challenge us to truly make lasting change.

This year I will not be setting resolutions for the year as a whole. But I am a serial short term goal setter, and I know that I will be applying the philosophy of veracity to all future matters. Whenever the time comes to make a decision I will let go of impulsivity and irrationality. I will be aware of my state of mind, my true intentions, and the pragmatic weight of my choice. And when I put my resolve into any matter, I will do so wholeheartedly and honestly, with my whole heart and character behind every action.

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