Got a Resolution? Why Wait for the New Year?

(Photo: New York Times)
Alex Boughen made big, determined New Year’s resolutions for the past ten years. “It was always eating healthier, working out more, that kind of thing,” he said.اضافة اعلان

The problem was he could never keep them. “I was one of those people who went to the gym on Jan. 2,” said Boughen, 28, who works for a communications agency in Ontario. A couple of weeks later, he said, “they never saw my face again.”

Last summer, he realized he could approach things differently. Rather than wait until the first day of the new year to overhaul his habits, he would try to make small, incremental changes. For example, if he missed a run one morning, he would go for a walk after dinner instead. In addition, he would try to eat a few meals at home to control the ingredients and make sure they were healthy.

Most important, messing up one day didn’t mean giving up altogether. “If I don’t hit a goal one day, I just try the next day again,” he said. “It’s a much better strategy than waiting until the new year to try again.”

The new year is almost here, and with it, myriad resolutions. But some millennials and Generation Z are abandoning the tradition, opting instead to work on themselves year-round or the moment they realize they need to change. If they really want to do things differently, they figure, why wait for Jan. 1?

Boughen pointed out that many people don’t accomplish their goals because they procrastinate. “A lot of us always push things off,” he said. “I always say I will start on Monday, or I will start in the new year. That was toxic for me.”

Noah Schnable, 20, a student at Southern New Hampshire University, also found himself pushing off his goals of becoming a well-known game streamer. “To do what I want, I need to stream at least three or four hours a day,” he said. “But I definitely have a procrastination issue where I put everything off until the next day.”

He thought about making a New Year’s resolution but ultimately decided the only way to achieve his goals was to start immediately. “Now, when I find myself saying I’ll stream tomorrow or a little bit later in the week, I just say to myself, ‘Actually, you have time to do it now,’” he said.

Another benefit to this strategy is that he will feel much more confident going into 2022, knowing he’s already made progress on his dreams. “On New Year’s, I will hopefully have a really good feeling that I have already started on my goals,” he said. “It feels good to know I am already on my way.”

Other young people are realistic about what they need to accomplish a lasting change — and it isn’t a trendy New Year’s resolution.

Abbey Phaneuf, 22, who lives in New York and is a marketing associate at Loftie, a company that makes consumer goods to help people sleep better, said that she feels pressure to make a resolution every year.

“I get a lot of TikToks talks about workout routines and how to change your body in a month and what you should be eating,” she said. “I think people see other people trying to become the best versions of themselves, and they feel like they should do the same.”

But she knows that to change her life and want to go deep within, it can’t just be something she is doing because of groupthink. “If you are just going to the gym because of something you saw on TikTok, that isn’t sustainable.”

She’s skipping the whole resolution thing this year. Instead, she’s focusing on making the change she wants — participating in more activities in New York City — gradually. “I’ve been looking up things for a while — running clubs and volunteering,” she said. “It’s an ongoing goal of mine, and I’m going to do it when I’m ready.”

Emily Mooshian, 27, a proofreader in Haverhill, Massachusetts, also used to feel pressure to declare a resolution on New Year’s. “I’ve always viewed a New Year’s resolution as something I have to do because everyone else is doing it,” she said. “But I also feel like this is stupid. I’m not going to stick with it if I’m doing it because everyone else is.”

That’s why this year, she decided to work on herself on her own schedule.

In October, she started feeling burned out because she was doing too many favors for people. She was helping plan surprise birthday parties for friends and going on trips she didn’t want to attend. “I decided I was going to have a New Year’s resolution to say ‘no’ more often and take care of my mental health,” she said. And she was determined not to wait until the first day of 2022 to start.

So far, she already turned down a trip to Nashville, Tennessee, over the holidays and said no to a friend who wanted her to dog sit. “If I had waited until January to start my resolution, I would have said yes to these things and been exhausted,” she said. “Now I feel good sooner.”

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