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People claim New Year’s res­o­lu­tions are out­dated. | Flickr

New Year’s Day is my favorite holiday. Don’t ask me why, because I wouldn’t be able to rea­sonably explain it, espe­cially when there are so many other “important” hol­idays: Easter, Thanks­giving, Christmas, to name a few. But, there’s always been some­thing special about New Year’s to me.

My family never does any­thing special for the holiday. A typical New Year’s Eve con­sists of my dad, mom, sister, and I eating a good meal, maybe dancing a little bit in the living room while Dick Clark’s “Rockin’ New Year’s Eve” plays on tele­vision and we wait for the ball in Times Square to drop. The truly magical part of New Year’s — apart from the com­mer­cialized image of cham­pagne, glitter, and that romantic New Year’s Eve kiss — is the global idea of a fresh start.

What is it about this idea of a fresh start or new year that seems to res­onate with the entire human pop­u­lation? Throughout history, humans have improved and built upon pre­vious gen­er­a­tions, and although we see new dis­cov­eries occurring in our own day, like paper straws and Bitcoin, it seems like my gen­er­ation is fairly com­placent and com­fortable.

People now question the impor­tance and lasting influence of New Year’s res­o­lu­tions because they seem out­dated and likely to fail, but isn’t that why we set goals? So that we can refer back to them when we do mess up and refocus our­selves? If we don’t think through our goals and try again when we fail, will we have a direction going into the new year? Without a target or an end, we will not only grow stagnant in society, we will digress.

With a new year comes new fears and new failures, but it also comes with an oppor­tunity to learn from past mis­takes and right our wrongs.

People are usually uncom­fortable with the idea of small goals, always wanting to aim for the biggest, brightest, and boldest goals first, and on top of that, to do it right the first time. This is wishful thinking. We are human beings prone to error and inevitable failure, but what we find in the New Year’s cel­e­bration is that humans want to be better.

People are usually uncom­fortable with prac­tical goals, too. Indi­viduals find that they want to drop half their body weight in an overly-ambi­tious, daily workout rou­tines, or travel to seven dif­ferent coun­tries in a single year. If we don’t rec­ognize the beauty in the mundane everyday life and find goals to com­plement our daily lives, we will never feel accom­plished or capable of success.

Take pro­cras­ti­nation, for example. Begin with a small and prac­tical goal like beginning each week by writing a to-do list and the days those tasks need to be com­pleted by, or breaking your bad habit of not responding to emails after you read them. Maybe a month in, you find yourself scram­bling and back to your old pro­cras­ti­nation routine. Start again — it’s still 2019 after all! New Year’s is a beau­tiful holiday that anyone can par­tic­ipate in, but many choose to sit on the side­lines while those who are willing to fear­lessly fail actually succeed. Don’t be one of them. 2019 has only just begun so set goals, remember these goals, fail, but get back on it.

In this new year, seek dis­comfort. Think of some­thing in your own life that needs improvement, though that needed change may not be easy to admit. Then, write it down. Make it tan­gible. Be able to look at it, and have it stare you down too.