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Debate: Are New Year’s resolutions really a tradition worth keeping?

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Debate: Are New Year’s resolutions really a tradition worth keeping?

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Round One

Pro: It’s very true that New Year’s Day is only another day on the calendar, but that doesn’t mean that it can’t be a good time to make a change in your life. In fact, it’s a very good time because of a couple things. First, it’s during or right after the holidays. We spend that time with family and friends, catching up with people we haven’t seen in a while. We celebrate with lots of parties and food and gifts. All this time with people, all the events and gifts can prompt insights into ourselves that we might not otherwise see. And since we’re changing our calendars anyway, why not start a new diet or exercise program or organizing system for your office. The change in the year makes a convenient way to mark when you’ve started your new habit. How much more likely is it that you’ll remember January 1 over, say, August 11? Pretty likely. Second, it’s winter time for Northern Hemisphere. It’s the time where we stay indoors and we look for new things to keep us busy because it’s not nice outside. What better time to start your new habit? It’s not like you can get quite as distracted if you’re snowed in.

Con: New Year’s resolutions come and go every year. They’re nothing special. Tons of people jump onto the bandwagon of “new year, new me” and it doesn’t accomplish anything. What actually changes when the New Year comes around is that the date changes. Everyone has to buy a new calendar. That’s about it. There’s no magical event that happens and makes you more motivated to get to the gym or eat healthier. You’re still the same person you were before. The importance that we put into New Year’s resolutions is more hurtful than helpful. If you really wanted to change or try something new, you shouldn’t wait until a specific date on the calendar. Do it now, because after a month into the new year, no one will be talking about their New Year’s resolutions. There will be no more motivation and encouragement from social media. The truth is if you want to dedicate yourself to something you need to motivate yourself and stop buying into the black hole that is “new year, new me.”

Round Two

Pro: Some say that New Year’s resolutions can be a point of peer pressure. Everyone is making one, so what do you want to change about yourself this year? You have a new slate, what do you want to do with it? Granted, they have a point. If you’re only making a resolution because it’s tradition, I doubt you’ll get very far. In fact, I didn’t even make one this year (because I forgot it was the New Year until the 3rd). You have to genuinely want to make a change in order for it to work. But there is also a beauty in the way that it’s become such a large part of our culture. It gives you the opportunity for lots of discussion on accountability. Think about it. Everyone’s always asking what your resolution is, and when you give an answer you’re also allowing them to hold you accountable. They may come up to you three months later and ask how your resolution is going, and you won’t necessarily know that they’re going to do that. You may end up sharing tips and tricks with someone who has the same or a similar resolution to you. Or you may find yourself challenged by someone else’s resolution and make one of your own. The new year doesn’t have to be about becoming a new you, but it’s an excellent time to take a new step forward in becoming the best version of you.

Con: It’s clear that plenty of people make a New Year’s resolution at the start of the new year, but how many people actually stick with it? If you start a resolution just because everyone else is, you’re less likely to stick with it. If we condition ourselves to associate the new year with a New Year’s resolution, what will that do to our holidays? Christmas, which is about spending time with family, giving and being happy, is close to New Years. We shouldn’t be spending our time off trying to find something negative about ourselves to fix or change, we should continue to embrace the positivity and loving feelings that the winter holidays bring. If there is something you want to work on, like going to the gym more often, you should do it for positive reasons like staying healthy rather than doing it because you have to for your New Year’s resolution. Far too often we do things for the wrong reasons. Instead of picking up a resolution so you can keep up with others and post it on social media, you should be doing things to better yourself and to take care of your health. We shouldn’t need a calendar to tell us when to start taking care of ourselves and start setting new goals.

Con side argued by Maddie Steger

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Debate: Are New Year’s resolutions really a tradition worth keeping?