New Year, New Me! . . . Not. The Toxic Reality of New Year’s Resolutions 

New+Years+Resolutions+drain+thought%2C+and+these+thoughts+drain+optimism+in+achieving+long-term+goals.+%7C+Courtesy+of+Tim+Mossholder

New Years Resolutions drain thought, and these thoughts drain optimism in achieving long-term goals. | Courtesy of Tim Mossholder

Sammi Mediodia, Lit-Art & Sports Editor

Brrrr. Brrrr. Brrrr. Rising to the ring of your alarm clock, it’s six in the morning and the first day of the New Year. As a sliver of sunlight peaks through the curtains, a soft yawn escapes your lips while you throw your hair into the cleanest messiest bun that has ever graced the world. You pull yourself into criss-cross applesauce, your hands floating to your phone, playing Affirmation Babe from Spotify like second nature. Breathe in . . Breathe out . . . You are THAT dude. You are certain, more than ever, this year is YOUR year.

Eh . . Cue the record screech. This is how it really plays out – you wake up at noon with the stench of morning breath violently infiltrating your nostrils and dried saliva coating the side of your mouth. You move to yank your phone from its charger, traveling between the pattern of Snapchat, Instagram, TikTok, repeat, and with one quick blink, it’s 5:00 PM and your mom’s yelling at you to join your family for dinner.

As many New Year’s promises we’ll make to ourselves, aren’t all January resolutions only a one way ticket to December disappointments? From weight loss to finding “The One,” though these resolutions may seem promising at the beginning of the year, not being able to achieve these goals by the end of the year can be heartbreaking. In fact, in many cases, this timeline can be rather anxiety-inducing, endorsing toxic productivity given the pitfalls of modern hustle culture. In a nutshell, toxic productivity is the hip new term that the kids of today are using to replace workaholism, entailing an unhealthy obsession with constantly needing to be occupied and much like the clingy ex you intended to leave in 2021, it sucks you up and pulls you into a deprecating wormhole. As further explained by business coach Simone Milasas in an interview with HuffPost, “When toxic productivity is leading your life, you judge yourself every day for what you haven’t done, rather than looking at what you have accomplished.”

Given a similar anecdote, society fawns over the hopeful melody of New Year’s Resolutions. They neglect to read between the lines as life slowly begins to melt into a never-ending self improvement project: the anxiety ghosting over them with the impending thought that there is someone out there who ran one more mile than you on the treadmill, or perhaps even gone above and beyond to chef up a home cooked dinner, while you hopped in the car and drove to the McDonalds two minutes away.

Growth is not a linear process, and the insinuation that such wide goals must be completed in the span of 365 days, or it is automatically deemed as a failure, is potent. At its core, true change is perfectly curated with time – and it takes a stronger foundation than a mere goal to be able to succeed at such. It lusts for time, finesse, strategy and planning, and above all, a level of self-understanding and forgiveness. Social psychologist of Harvard Business School Amy Cuddy built on this thought, saying, “If you’re focused on walking 100 miles, and you’re just constantly focused on that number 100 miles and trying to track your process, it’s going to be pretty friggin’ demoralizing most of the way.” 

Due to inclined comparison of where one should be versus where they want to be, it is pivotal to take a step back and recognize that though January 1 is used as a symbolic day to kick off the New Year with a goal, prosperity will only follow given some wiggle-room. Channel the intent of your grandiose 2022 resolutions and inject them into your daily mindset – and it is from that point on, you’ll find the root of satisfaction.