A realistic resolution

07 Feb 2019

February has just started and with that, the acute phase of New Year’s resolutions is over. Fitness studio registrations should start to steadily drop and the bad habits you hoped to leave behind in 2018 are probably mingling their way back into your life. Resolutions are both irrational and hopelessly romantic, luring us, because of the latter, back into the idea of personal enhancement year after year.

Not that personal enhancement is an illusion. But I would argue that New Year’s resolutions are not the best way to achieve it. With that in mind, one may ask why we should generally even talk about those resolutions, when they have such a low success rate. Especially at the beginning of February, when the idea of them is not even trending anymore and everyone is sober and already back to old habits. However, I argue that the beginning of February is the perfect time to talk about mislead resolutions. Not despite everyone falling back to reality, but because of it.

Just like you shouldn’t go grocery shopping while hungry, you should not settle on resolutions while heading towards the end of another year. The change from December to January makes everyone painfully aware that his or her time on earth is slowly but steadily running out. And because nothing can calm the feeling of decay like the promise of future achievements, this is what we visualise in our New Year’s resolutions.

By the time we reach February, however, the inevitability of death is less present — and disappearing with it is the motivation to make every day count. Because it’s generally more comfortable to not aim for a life Instagram influencers pretend to have. But here is the thing: life is precious and you should make every day count. Just not by envisioning the idea of a person you would like to be and putting that in the form of New Year’s resolutions.

So instead of signing up with the fitness centre of your choice, ask yourself: with whom do I have a good time during the bad times? What makes me feel alive — and what makes me feel like home? And then meet those people and do those activities more often. It is absurd to dedicate your life to something you would not pour your entire heart and soul into — and to strive for anything less than, in the end, being happy. So do exactly that: things that make you happy. Especially in months when your life has snapped from January right back to reality.

Every two weeks, Antonia will add the songs she writes about to the Spotify playlist below. This way, she creates a soundtrack to her time in Nijmegen. Click left and right for more songs.

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