Why I no longer make New Year’s resolutions

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by Alyssa Silva |

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This may be an unpopular opinion, but I don’t buy into the hype of New Year’s resolutions anymore. For years, I would set goals and articulate my intentions. I made vision boards. I followed the traditions that come at the start of each new year. However, with introspection and time, I realized that my efforts always fell short. So, for the past couple of years, I’ve chosen a different approach.

The idea of New Year’s resolutions is thought to have begun over 4,000 years ago, when the Babylonians celebrated a 12-day festival called Akitu at the start of a new agrarian year. During this festival, they’d make resolutions to their gods. When I first learned this, I was amazed at how ancient the tradition is.

Although it’s something I no longer participate in, the fact that it’s practiced thousands of years later demonstrates its validity. However, for most of my life, I felt pressured to set these goals. I believed that if I didn’t, I’d set myself up for failure in the year ahead. But I’d often toss aside my big promises by February. I’d inevitably lose momentum and give up.

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This cycle changed a few years ago after I faced new health challenges. During the most difficult times, I had to learn how to turn inward and work in tandem with my body. I was caught between my body’s needs and my mind’s ambitions, and bridging that gap required hard work. But in doing so, I was able to apply newfound lessons in other areas of my life as well.

I realized that what I truly needed at this time of year wasn’t New Year’s resolutions — it was simply rest.

Respecting internal seasons

During this season, my body goes through its own wintering phase. I crave a slower pace, more naps, and a retreat from the world. I used to fight this at the start of each year. I wanted to start the new year by chasing my goals. I wanted to set myself up for success in the year ahead.

But, in learning to work in synchronicity with my mind and body, I learned to lean into this idea of reprieve. I learned to enjoy this season, even if it looks different than it does for most people, and even if it means I’m not starting the year off strong. I learned the power of honoring the ebb and flow of my own internal seasons.

While the start of a new year can be encouraging and motivating for many, for me, it’s just another day. I’m no longer pressured to change when January comes around because I know that when I’m ready, change will happen. Goals will be met. And I’ll be seizing the day while feeling refreshed and rejuvenated after much-needed respite.

The best thing I can do for myself in the new year is whatever feels right for me. Right now, that feels like hibernating under the covers and allowing my body to rest in the slowness of the season. When the world begins to thaw and the sun begins to bask us in her warmth, I’ll know I’m ready for my comeback.

Note: SMA News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of SMA News Today or its parent company, BioNews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to spinal muscular atrophy.

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