‘New Year’s Resolutions are Bullshit’ and the Reasons Why I Think You Should Go Into 2022 Free of the Patriachy

CW: strong language, mentions of homophobia

resolution noun

a firm decision to do or not to do something

the quality of being determined

Yes. You read that right the first time.

As we go into the year 2022, my Instagram feed is FULL with gym inspos, restrictive fad diets and peoples’ goals for the year ahead. The cynical part of my brain is certain that these individuals will fall at the first hurdle; the first sign of struggle pulling the floor from under their feet as they fall back into old habits. The gym membership being cancelled after the first few months and the abandoned running trainers at the back of the wardrobe. This cycle of the annual promise to ‘do better’ and ‘be better’ as we drink ourselves into the new year has always been an odd concept to me. What are we waiting for when we decide to make these changes at midnight on the 31st of December every year?

I myself am guilty of setting ‘goals’ for the year, but I am careful when I decide what aims I put to paper. I don’t like the phrase ‘New Years Resolutions’ because it seems too final; too pressurised. It’s seen as a personal failure if you don’t follow through with the things you set out to at the beginning of the year. It’s such a destructive mentality that we hold as a society because most of the time, circumstances change and we naturally develop as individuals so the goals we set on ‘Day One’ are no longer applicable to this new version of ourselves. We set these unrealistic goals in order to appeal to others, specifically men, so that we appear to ‘have our shit together’ even when we might be aimlessly wandering through life.

Going into 2021, I was completely lost in both my identity and where I saw my life going. I entered the year trying to scramble my way out of years of trauma and poor decisions. As a student, it’s so easy to become reliant on alcohol and a false identity in a completely new part of the country where you’re ‘free of your problems’. What I realised this year was that these demons follow you wherever you go unless you shed that skin and dance in the sunlight. What I’m trying to say is that this year, I feel like because I didn’t set myself goals of what I wanted to become, it gave me the freedom to just completely embody my true self. I started completely fresh. Shaved my head, wore what I wanted (when and where I wanted to wear it), ate what I wanted, saw who I wanted to, exercised when I wanted to, let go of the people that I needed to, allowed myself to express my gender identity in the way I have always craved. As I sit here and look back at the Snapchat memories of myself a year ago today, I see a completely different person. Lauren was uncomfortable in her own skin and let others dictate what she wore and how she presented herself. Now, I look in a mirror and Loz is looking back: a genderless being that is so free to do, say, wear and eat whatever the fuck they want to.

I’m not saying that everyone is a closeted individual with years of internalised homophobia just waiting to emerge into a beautiful, metaphorical-gay butterfly. I just think that when you are free to make decisions without any form of restriction, you can ultimately surprise yourself with how much you suppress in order to please those around you.

While my argument still sticks that resolutions are bullshit, I wanted to write about a few things I started doing this year that I’m aiming to carry on doing in the New Year as I have found it works for me.

write– While this seems like a simple goal, I just love writing my feelings and ideas on paper and creating tiny little literary-children for my own sense of joy that I can share with anyone and everyone who is willing to read my work

get more tattoos– This one is pretty self-explanatory. I got two tattoos on my right arm this year drawn by some of my close friends and I want to finish the sleeve so I am covered in tiny memories by my favourite people

read the books on my bookshelf that i bought in 2021– I bought lots of books. Haven’t finished them all yet. Boom.

save £1000– This I agree, is a slightly rouge one. I was a lot more sensible with my money this year, allowing me to build a tiny amount of savings. I want to continue this so that I can finish university in 2023 with the money to carry on with my creative and academic aims. Yeah okay, I agree this one is quite boring

And finally…. find one thing every day that I loved about that day– This goal allows me to find a positive in every single day, ‘good’ or ‘bad’. It just means that I can find success in even the smallest of achievements; most days that’s having three meals or finishing a reading for my seminars the following day.

This last goal is basically my version of a middle finger to traditional New Years Resolutions: if we find one thing that we love every day, then we don’t have to be so restrictive in our overall aims because you will end up looking back on a year filled with successes rather than unrealistic goals-turned-failures.

Image courtesy of Kelly Sikkema

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