By Cady Inabinett, Editor in chief
Ask any of my friends or, really, anyone who knows me: one thing about me is that I love having a little project to work on.
Not to sound like I’m trying to get you to give me a job—though, if you are in the position to do so, I would like to throw out there that I will be graduating in just four short months—but I am an extremely goal-oriented person. I get a lot of satisfaction from setting to work on a specific goal or project and then getting to see the follow-through. It’s what motivates me to do a lot of things and it’s something that I get a lot of fulfillment from.
Given this, you would think I’m good at keeping New Year’s resolutions. And, well, mostly I just like setting them, but I’d like to think I’m pretty good at keeping them, too. But half of the reason why isn’t because I love projects or because I’m goal-oriented. Rather, it’s because I think I have a little bit of a different approach to New Year’s resolutions.
New Year’s resolutions tend to get a bad rap—often thought of as lofty, aspirational but ultimately unattainable goals. This isn’t an entirely unearned reputation. Forbes reports that the average resolution lasts 3.74 months. But why do resolutions often fail?
One of the main reasons that I personally think people don’t keep their resolutions: they’re simply not enjoyable. They lack any sense of joie de vivre. Take a look at what some of the most popular New Year’s resolutions are: improving fitness, improving finances and improving mental health. Nothing that exactly makes you—or at least me—particularly excited. All of it feels kind of blah, for lack of a better word.
That is not to say that everything in life has to be enjoyable. Sometimes it’s necessary to do difficult or unpleasant things because they’re important or good things to do. Taking care of yourself isn’t always fun or easy, but it’s worth it in the long run.
However, an important part of taking care of yourself, that I’m afraid we often overlook in our increasingly toxic wellness, beauty and health-obsessed culture, is happiness. Life isn’t supposed to be a slow, miserable trudge through completing tasks and doing what you’re “supposed to do” until you, eventually, die. It’s supposed to be joyous and wonderous—filled with laughter, love and adventure.
So why do we so often try so hard to make ourselves miserable? We focus on the most banal, mundane aspects of life just because it’s what we’re supposed to be doing. Why don’t we try to make our new year’s resolutions more joy-centric? More whimsical? Even the most boring aspects of day-to-day life can become a little bit more joyful if you try.
This year, I encourage you to set goals and resolutions that help you find the joy and fun in life. If that means exercising more, great. If that means focusing on a hobby that makes you happy, perfect. If that means spending more time with friends, wonderful. Or, if that just means having a silly little side-quest-type goal like petting as many dogs as possible, that works too. Just make sure you’re having fun.
As for me, I’ve been having a hard time pinpointing exactly where my goals for this year lie. I guess, I’ve been a bit paralyzed by the potentiality of it all, but I know a couple of things are true. I want to smile more often, read everything I can get my hands on, finally learn how to ride a bike and continue to search for the joy and magic in the everyday. I hope that I am successful in these efforts, and I hope that you, reader, are successful and happy in this upcoming year as well.
Cady Inabinett is the editor in chief of The Alabamian. She’s majoring in English and double-minoring in political science and peace and justice studies. She enjoys reading, watching movies, caring for houseplants and generally just being pretentious in her free time.