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Why "New Year, New Me" Is a Harmful Mindset

Resolutions cause more harm than good—here's how to approach goals in a healthier, more sustainable way.


“New Year, Same [Great] Me.” While that may not be the slogan you’re used to, it’s time we make the rebellious and revolutionary choice of not succumbing to the trap of resolutions.

While an anti-resolution stance may seem counterintuitive from a wellness platform, there’s more than enough data to back why resolutions may do more harm than good. Let’s question why we normalized the narrative that we need to enter the new year on a restrictive diet and bound to a new exercise regime, and dismantle it by deciding we’re already worthy as we are. 


Why New Year’s Resolutions Are Dangerous

When we think of sustainable change, we don’t typically think of a complete and sudden overhaul. Like Rome, lasting change is built brick by brick, bite by bite. It is built by leaning into what has felt good thus far and refining your commitment to it, like an earlier bedtime or more Sundays spent in nature. Yet, an extreme is much more marketable, and nothing can make a woman want to reinvent herself faster than by poisoning her with the belief that she isn’t enough.

Many of the companies and products that profit off of women feeling disempowered manipulate the resolution rhetoric, employing membership discounts and sales as a reminder that you “need to lose weight and be a smaller version of yourself to enter the new year right.” 

A 2018 survey conducted by NPR showed that 44% of Americans were likely to make a New Year’s resolution. Of those, 13% were related to exercising, making it the most popular resolution in the United States. Unsurprisingly, the third and fourth most common New Year’s resolutions were weight loss and healthier eating. 

With the modern-day costs of gym memberships varying from $20 to $250 monthly, you can imagine the surge in profit these spaces get from their January sign-ups, with people desperate to shed any holiday pounds and reintroduce the smallest versions of themselves come Spring. Not intrinsically, of course, but because they’re unconsciously told to.


You Are Enough, Now

Sure, we could all benefit from less screen time and mindless scrolling. We’d objectively all be better humans if we spent more time barefoot in grass and less time binge-watching Real Housewives. But that doesn’t mean the TikTok-addicted, reality TV connoisseur version of you is any less worthy than the one who takes a HIIT class at 5AM and drinks egg whites. It’s a radical act to be content with the version of yourself you stand in today, especially while walking towards growth.

You know what makes you feel your best. If this year, you’ve spent more time socializing communally, taken up kickboxing, or limited distraction to up your productivity and ultimately felt better, that’s crucial data. Take that information and invest in habits you want to continue nurturing. You don’t need to be a new you—try being the same you, who makes intentional and informed choices.  

But we begin to develop a negative self-image when we berate the version of ourselves we are now, while romanticizing our potential. It’d be both dangerous and unsustainable to cut out all carbs and work out rigorously seven days a week, so when you inevitably crash, you’ll be left to cope with a sense of failure that never belonged to you in the first place.

The extremity around New Year’s resolutions only multiplies the angst we already feel, leading to added stress and feelings of inadequacy. 


Instead of making New Year's Resolutions, consider:

  • Taking the time to journal and reflect on the growth you’ve already achieved
  • Writing a gratitude list for all the things that went right this year
  • Reflecting on which lessons came from the lower moments and how you can apply them moving forward
  • Choosing an affirmation mantra for the next year, like “I say yes to playtime and adventure,” or “Rest is not a reward, it is a priority”
  • Setting a general, more attainable goal, like going on more walks, cooking more meals at home, or spending more time with loved ones
  • Giving yourself silly resolutions that spark joy, like petting as many dogs within a week as possible, prioritizing a daily sweet treat, or always saying the nice thing you’re thinking of someone out loud

Do You, Boo

At the end of the day, resolutions aren’t inherently harmful—it’s the self-deprecating belief system built around them that is. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with wanting to make better choices, build better habits, and evolve into a stronger version of yourself. 

If you want to eat cleaner, move your body with intention, or kick down habits that keep you feeling stagnant, we’re just here to remind you that you can gradually work towards that starting any day of the year, as long as it’s within your own accord. Don’t let antiquated rhetoric tell you that a better version of yourself is smaller and only eats leafy greens, and that if you don’t enter the new year under a diet and strict exercise regime, you’re any less valuable. 

Extend yourself grace and compassion for the beauty of your humanity. This version of you deserves to come into the new year, too.

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