New Year’s Resolutions: Help or Hindrance?


Every January 1st for the past seven years, I’ve diligently made a comprehensive list of New Year’s Resolutions, and just as diligently broken most of them within about three days. I dare say it’s the same story for a lot of you out there; we’re barely two weeks into the year and I’m already noticing tweets bemoaning the collapse of New Year’s diets, seeing Facebook statuses complaining that a new exercise regime has gone pear-shaped, and reading various articles claiming that our annual resolutions are always doomed to failure.

The truth is, January is probably the completely wrong month to be attempting any kind of meaningful change. It’s cold, the weather is usually miserable, the telly is rubbish, and the prospect of returning to the daily grind of uni after a month off is usually met with dread. It’s this atmosphere of misery that makes so many people’s resolutions so seemingly unattainable; all you want to do is jump under a duvet and hibernate for the rest of the winter, not start a vigorous gym regime/no-carb /drinking detox.

However, against all the odds, this year I’ve been attempting to keep to my more realistic set of resolutions. I say “attempt” because, as expected, I haven’t 100% managed to stick to them; even in the time I’ve spent writing this article, I’ve eaten enough Quality Street to completely destroy my resolution to eat healthier in 2015. Let’s face it, the student isn’t the healthiest- while I’m blessed with a metabolism that keeps my weight in check, I could practically feel my arteries weeping every time I broke out the chicken nuggets last term (which was more often than I’d like to admit).

This year, things will be different- I’m going to finally remind myself what a fresh vegetable looks like, and stop classing lemon cheesecake as one of my five a day. I’m going to at least try to keep a balanced but we’ll see how well that goes during summative season. Which, now that I think about it, is most of next term. Oh dear.

A lot of my resolutions are the fairly bog-standard, run-of-the-mill promises that most people will have made to themselves on January 1st. Along with the healthy eating, exercise definitely needs to feature more prominently in my life considering my last trek up to a hill college genuinely nearly finished me off. Besides, it’s a lot easier to dash to Klute before 11pm if you can walk more than two steps without getting out of breath.

Another more Durham-specific goal of mine is to stop complaining as much about the fact that my house is in Neville’s Cross (where, I hear you ask? EXACTLY.) Yes, it’s up a massive hill, and yes, I have to set off at some ungodly hour to get to my rare 9am lectures, BUT AT LEAST IT’S NOT GILESGATE. Oh, the joys of living out.

Will I keep to these resolutions? Who knows. In fact, if I’m being honest, probably not; self-control isn’t one of my strong points and my deep love of complaining, Maltesers, and laziness is probably going to shoot my resolutions in the foot. In fact, maybe it doesn’t really matter if we stick to our resolutions; maybe it’s enough that we make them in the first place.

A new year can bring a lot of change and a lot of uncertainty, so maybe we need to set these goals for ourselves to at least have something to motivate us through the slightly tricky beginning stretch of the year. It’s better to at least try to make a positive change than to sit around letting things drag along as they are; who knows, maybe you’ll be one of those few strong people who stick to their guns and actually meets their goals! However, if you’re not one of those people, don’t worry about it- I, and a large chunk of the human population, completely understand.


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