New Year, New Approach to Resolutions

By Zoë Randolph, GC4W Thought Leadership Contributor

“I’m not setting any resolutions this year,” I saw someone tweet recently. “2022 has to impress *me.*”

It was a joke, of course, mocking our collective, annual fervor around self-improvement. But it was hardly the only post I saw to this effect. Several people on my timeline expressed similar sentiments, abandoning publicly their former, self-imposed obligation to “manifest” and “hustle.” The words were self-effacing, written with the same bravado of someone who announcers that they ate pie for breakfast or watched an entire season of “Emily in Paris” over the course of an afternoon. But the more closely I examined these announcements (or admissions), the more I found power, not sloth behind the words. Was I due for my own re-assessment?

How Collective Is Our Destiny?

I, for one, am a list-maker; I always have been. Which means I’m exactly the type of person the trap of new year’s resolutions were designed to ensnare. If you can write it down, you can make it happen, is my general mantra. Any failure to do so is simple lack of willpower. And so, as you might expect, I am an avid resolutions-maker. The glitter of my future self is too enticing not to pursue.

But if the pandemic has taught us anything, it’s that personal grit and betterment can only take us so far. However much we may hope (or fear) that our destiny is ours alone to chart, a persistent public health crisis, a warming planet, and rampant wealth inequality are windows into the truth that we are, like it or not, in this together.

The Most Consequential Resolution

That’s not to say we don’t have any control; nor that there’s anything wrong with an annual checkup on your life. You only get one, as Drake so astutely reminded us. As glancing as our force is over the world itself, we have an almost alarming amount of say over how we feel in it. That, rather than being collective, is a deeply personal matter. Bearing inescapable pressures and parameters, we choose how we prioritize and what we “have time” for. For better or worse, the only person we need to please is ourselves.

So perhaps these tweeters are on to something—and perhaps it’s best for everyone that we leave the notion of the “#girlboss” firmly back in the twenty-teens. We can still strive, certainly, but perhaps we need not strive for striving’s sake. If the only thing we have is time, perhaps the most consequential resolution any of us can make is to reclaim it.

About our thought-leadership contributor, Zoë Randolph.

Zoë Randolph worked in marketing for nonprofits and startups before becoming a full-time freelance writer and editor. She covers history, culture, travel, and career from her adopted home of Montréal, Quebec, where she pretends to understand French and enjoy winter. You can keep up with her at zoerandolph.com

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