For as long as I can remember, I have always made New Year’s resolutions. Although setting goals for myself motivated me to work harder, I often overworked myself. I was hard on myself when I did not reach the goals mapped out for myself. New Year’s resolutions have somehow always made me feel bad about myself instead of boosting my confidence. 

Looking back on my past resolutions has allowed me to realize why so many of these goals ended up making me so miserable. They were all related to my productivity and based on what society defines as success. For so many years, I resolved to get perfect grades and spend more time on homework. This was not really what I wanted or what I knew would make me happy, but I wanted to be successful in the eyes of my family members, friends, and teachers. So, I chose this same resolution year after and continually beat myself up for not achieving it. I did not fail to achieve these grades because of laziness; I worked my hardest but fell short because perfection simply is not possible. Holding myself up to that standard caused me to overwork myself in order to achieve perfection. I lost my confidence when I failed, and these goals made me feel worse about myself. 

Now, I believe that my New Years’ resolutions should not be based on what others define as success or what will boost my productivity, but what will make me happy. This is my first New Year after realizing this, so my resolutions will look a lot different than they have in the past. This year, I am setting one goal: to take better care of myself and do what truly makes me happy. I hope that this choice restores my confidence and improves my relationship with myself and those closest to me. 

An example of something I plan to do to take care of myself this year is to engage in some sort of movement or meditation daily. Movement and meditation tend to really benefit my mental and physical health and I want to dedicate at least thirty minutes each day to taking care of myself in this way. Also, I plan to knit more often, as this is an activity I find very relaxing, but I seldom leave time for. I have already found some projects I plan to work on and will try to work on my knitting a few days a week. 

It may seem that New Year’s resolutions are toxic because we are led to believe that our goals can only relate to productivity. However, I think that we can change our collective perception of New Year’s resolutions. This change begins when we choose to set goals to make us truly happy and restore our confidence. 2021 is the year to change how we think about New Year’s resolutions and begin to take better care of ourselves and those around us.