New Year, Same Old Story: Why Resolutions Don’t Serve Their Purpose


The New Year brings with it time-honored traditions, but are they really all that great?

Every day, someone abandons their goal for the new year, depriving the world of another fitness-crazed, diet-obsessed health freak. And the downfall of New Year’s resolutions is a real threat to our school and broader society.

Today, a month into the new year, 80% of you have already dropped your New Year’s resolutions.

“I don’t like New Year’s resolutions because it’s just a goal you’re going to fail,” junior Olivia Weber said.

Setting goals for yourself is important, and having something to kickstart that change is good. However, most of the time, starting a goal at New Year’s goes south—soon. Because people can’t white knuckle through it anymore, they set an outrageous, non-feasible goal, or they only start it because they feel pressured.

Having a New Year’s resolution is expected—throughout the world, and definitely at Latin. On the first day back, I was asked to share my resolution many times. Each class began with your name (if it was a semester-long course), a summary of how you spent your winter break, and your New Year’s resolution. Because of the pressure to have a New Year’s resolution, many people were forced to make one up on the spot. But why is having a New Year’s resolution so important anyway?

As a society, we are obsessed with perfection. You have to be skinnier, prettier, and never make a mistake. New Year’s resolutions are a vessel for this idea; the most common New Year’s resolutions for 2024 were fitness-oriented, with 48% of people wanting to improve fitness and 32% their diet. These goals seem harmless on the outside, but upon diving into their sources, a culture of excessive fitness as an aesthetic goal is exposed.

“Self-improvement is essential because you grow as a person,” sophomore Ava Nelson said. “You make better changes to yourself and it provides a learning experience.” While Ava’s points are true, people are too focused on appearances rather than any other kind of self-betterment.

The aforementioned culture of excessive fitness for aesthetics is growing rapidly, which compares being “fit” with looking “fit,” and we cut to pieces those who don’t meet the standard. Looking and being “fit” are not the same. New Year’s resolutions push fitness on everyone and cause infinitely more harm than good.

Excessive fitness isn’t the sole issue with New Year’s resolutions, though. They force people to create goals to impress others rather than to truly better themselves—goals they won’t commit to or achieve. It makes you feel bad about yourself; first, the reason behind the resolution, and second, the almost inevitable (and often immediate) failure.

Then there’s the problem with the concept itself. Sophomore Tucker Thayer said, “Why would I change at the beginning of the year when I could just change any day? The new year shouldn’t be your motivation.”

Sophomore Kelsey Riordan agreed. “You should really start at a random time,” Kelsey said. “It’s helpful to start even in December and just continue it. In the new year, often, commitments change.”

The majority of people give up their resolutions by February, leaving them with a sense of ineptitude caused by failure despite having a dumb New Year’s resolution. More thought must go into making goals, and self-improvement can and should happen at any time, not just at the new year.