The New Year: Resolutions vs Reflections

by Jennifer Richards

‘So what’s your New Year’s Resolution?’ It seems to be the question on everyone’s lips. But New Year’s is not just about the future and sweeping last year under the rug. It’s also a chance to reflect on how much has changed over the previous year, so we shouldn’t be so quick in forgetting the past.

Improve yourself, don’t lose yourself!

New Year holds so much promise. A fresh start and a new you. But what about the old you? Surely you’ve been doing some things over the last year that have been important? Of course there are some memories you’d rather forget (we all know what happened at last month’s Christmas party…) but it’s still good to reflect on these things. The strike of midnight doesn’t mean an automatic overhaul of your personality as you move on to Me 2.0.

Though Dickens made a very clear definition of past, present and future with his infamous ghosts, it doesn’t really work like this. Our past and future are an entangled mess that somehow makes up our present. No, I’m not talking about fate having a role, but rather that these things are all interlinked – who we’re going to be this New Year will undoubtedly be affected by who we were last year. We can’t help that.


Our past actions shouldn’t be so easily left behind. Looking at our highs and lows over the last year allows you to see how much you’ve changed, and what you can be proud of. New Year is a great opportunity for reflection, not just resolutions. Last year I made some mistakes, but I know it’s not healthy of me to simply dismiss them as soon as January the 1st comes about. If I don’t deal with the things I did wrong, or even the things people did wrong to me, I won’t get very far into the year until I get dragged back right to where I was before. It’s better to actually reflect on what happened so I can deal with it properly. That way 2016 will become a new start, without my problems later coming to bite me.

Positives of the year before New Year’s  existed

It’s about reflecting on your successes as well as the negatives. Last year I found myself becoming more confident, making braver decisions and pursing the things I’d always been too scared to do. It’s okay to talk about the things you’re proud of. It doesn’t make you arrogant or cocky, but helps you see all the highlights of the last year. Then in turn, this reflection will affect the resolutions you make. Now I’ve become more confident, my resolutions are about facing new challenges I never thought I’d have the guts to do. 2015 has shown me that I can. So perhaps it isn’t resolutions vs reflections, but a combination of the two.

Happy New Year!

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