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Resolving Resolutions

It’s January and we’re all back at university. So, asks Online Features Editor Meg Lawrence, how are those New Year’s Resolutions holding up?
Be honest; are you still on the wagon/diet/treadmill that you swore allegiance to as the clock struck midnight half a month ago?
We haven’t even escaped the dreary drizzle of January, and already it is safe to say that most people who announced their resolutions on New Year’s Eve have given up on them. Either that, or they are seriously considering it, moaning on an hourly basis about how they shouldn’t have put themselves through the torment of something so horrendous. We all consider resolutions, and many of us take the fateful vow at midnight on the last day of the year. But this is a crucial mistake.
Students are not programmed for resolutions, they don’t agree with the student lifestyle. Being healthy on a budget is almost impossible; when you can buy a ready meal for the same price as a packet of peppers, you’re more likely to do the former. Giving up alcohol is very difficult at University, those unmissable nights at the Lemmy are, somehow, more missable when you’re sober.
Yet, while there’s something irresistible about promising to deprive ourselves of something we crave, some students have taken the opportunity of a brand new year to change attitudes and embrace life.
19-year-old Marianne Tay is Social Secretary for Exeter University’s Athletics Club and her resolution is a principled one. ‘This year I want to rise up against the prejudice against ginger people,’ she announced.
Fighting the ginger prejudice?  Image credits: stecman
Fighting the ginger prejudice?
Image credits: stecman
John Pawley, also 19, has a challenge designed to improve his life rather than fighting for others.‘My New Year’s resolution is to live life to the full, be more open to experiences and to have a healthier lifestyle.’
But English student, Alexia Thomaidis, 20, told Exeposé that waiting until December 31 to change your life was a big mistake. ‘If people really want to change something they don’t need to wait until the new year to do it. There is too much pressure to make New Year’s resolutions,’ she said.
It’s not just students who are unable to keep to resolutions- every year millions make them, yet almost eighty per cent of people fail to achieve them. And it’s not just the likes of you and me who’s making them.
Celebrities are the first to endorse resolutions, as if they needed better bodies, more money, or a more exciting career. When asked about her New Year’s resolution for 2014, Hilary Duff stated: ‘I want to read more books,’ whilst Elizabeth Banks said: ‘In 2014 I want to learn piano, reduce the amount of waste in my life, travel for fun, not work.’ Demi Lovato tweeted: ‘2014= health, fitness, strength and music.’ Unsurprisingly, Miley Cyrus contributed: ‘In 2014 I hope they start censoring dudes nipples #genderequality.’ All profound stuff there, then.
With lives that seem idyllic to many, celebrities who announce that things aren’t quite right in their star-studded lives can make us feel a bit bitter. However, not all celebrities have made resolutions that succeed in making us feel even worse about ourselves. Glee’s Jane Lynch, for example, announced: ‘I am not going to start a diet.’ Good for you, Jane.
In keeping with this trend, many people I know have decided not to conform to the dreaded ritual of making resolutions that they’re bound to break, and so have instead decided to make a resolution not to make a resolution.
New Year’s resolutions start off as positive affirmations of lifestyle improvements but almost always end up as misery-making, doomed-to-failure challenges that make the dreariest month of the year even drearier. No one ever says: ‘This year I’m going to continue being as amazing and fantastic as I always am.’ Instead, we pile guilt on about overeating at Christmas, and vow to get thinner, fitter, happier and more productive. It would be fine if resolutions actually worked, but instead we seem to just point out parts about ourselves that we don’t like.
Image credits: HealthGauge
Image credits: HealthGauge

The University of Scranton’s Journal of Clinical Psychology has recently published statistics on the top New Year’s Resolutions of 2014. The number one resolution? You guessed it, to lose weight. No wonder we are all drowning in body confidence issues, when will we stop chiseling away at ourselves?

Dieting companies thrive in January. You can’t step into a supermarket or shop without facing countless rows of diet pills, exercise equipment and weird foods made out of grass and seeds. I can’t count the number of emails I’ve received in the last two weeks inviting me to attend fitness camps and buy toning belts and cleansing juices. We are being constantly extorted for our insecurities, and that is the simple reason why we should make a stand against New Year’s resolutions.
Throw that diet book out the window, grab a glass of wine, and vow to make changes in your life when you feel necessary, not when tradition makes you feel like you should.
And, if you’re one of the few who is still managing to keep their New Year’s resolution, here’s a word of advice: Take the smug look off your face. That person sat just across from you cramming chocolate into their mouth while guzzling wine and throwing their trainers out the window is feeling miserable.
Meg Lawrence, Online Features Editor
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