VOICES: New Year's resolutions in a pandemic and beyond

Category:  Opinions
Thursday, February 4th, 2021 at 2:00 PM
VOICES: New Year's resolutions in a pandemic and beyond by Alexander Beatty
Photo: Pexels.com

New Year’s resolutions somehow always pop up on the last day of the year like an ominous fog that slowly fades throughout the first few days of January. People suddenly get the urge to shed a few pounds or maybe read a new book, but then if they fail, it puts them in a deeper emotional hole than they started in. With that in mind, are they worthwhile, or is the risk greater than the reward? And should your opinion of them change during the pandemic?

This past year has been rough on everyone; a global pandemic sheltered people inside as they feared for their lives and the lives of their loved ones. Events passed by without much recognition because the risk of virus spreading and death lurked. High school seniors lost precious memories, all students lost in-person connection, doctors lost sleep, and many lost hope. 2020 was a brutal year full of death and sorrow, but the people who made it through are seeing a new light. The various vaccine developments have been well publicized, and reported cases have started to decrease in certain parts of the world (see New Zealand). 

Perhaps a New Year’s resolution is the result of that light. 2021 is this new hope that the world can go back to a new normal: life without masks, spectator-packed sporting events and roaring music festivals. Full of hope, people started to imagine this world. They would picture themself in a better scenario to escape the horror right outside the window.

So January and February will start off with at-home workouts and healthier eating, because people didn’t have the best habits during quarantine. Then there are the usual resolutions, such as reading more, setting up a schedule or quitting smoking. The pandemic will cancel popular resolutions of travel and exploration, but necessitate new challenges like attending crisis counseling or finding new jobs. Students may just want to pass their courses and teachers may search for a better internet connection.

The general perception is that a majority of people keep their resolutions alive in January, buzzed by the thrill of bettering themself, but once February strikes, it's almost like the resolution never existed. Gyms fill with people (in masks) and home subscriptions light up televisions. People are excited, but as the first month ends, so does some of the resolutions. Life remains unknown as this virus still tears through the country, so people seek comfort in those activities of stillness. People revert back to their previous ways of life.

Instead of resolutions, people should aim to make improvements part of their routine rather than a task to complete. Creating healthy routines is more important than ever with those confined at home, rather than going for quick gains. So, even if your beginning resolution failed, change is still possible as we continue on. Why would you wait a couple of days or weeks to start? Write everything down to track progress and let someone in on your goals. Stay positive and motivated even if that seems bleak at the current moment. Stop making New Year’s resolutions and just be a better person today and for the future. A few days make a difference.

So are New Year's resolutions worth it? In short, and especially during this pandemic, no.

Alexander Beatty is a staff writer for The Spectator. He can be reached at edinboro.spectator@gmail.com.

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