New Year's resolution season is what you make of it. The month of January can be all about setting achievable but ambitious goals that will help you feel like a more confident, put-together version of yourself — or it can be about making yourself feel bad for eating more than 1,500 calories a day or making it to the gym fewer than seven days a week. That first kind of New Year's resolution? All about it. The second type? Not so much.
Bustle did a survey of 822 readers to find out which camps they fell into when setting their intentions for the coming year, and it seems that many fell victim to the common trope that January is a time to punish yourself for indulging in the rich foods and lazy weekends of December. One major theme of the resolutions that Bustle readers made was to seek general self betterment... but two other standouts were goals to lose weight and exercise more.
A large proportion of readers made resolutions about weight loss, commenting that they were dissatisfied with their bodies and suffering from low self-esteem as a result. On the other hand, a big chunk of respondents also sought to make 2017 a year in which they found happiness, peace, and confidence. So, are people hoping that weight loss will help bring them that contentment and confidence? Are women setting themselves up for failure by seeking happiness on one hand but spending time scrutinizing their bodies on the other? Is everyone unhappy with something about themselves and looking to make a big change?
Most of the survey responses aside from exercise and weight loss focused on some form of internal self improvement, and the "other" category was full of intentions to "do things that give me a better state of mind, things that make me happy," and "general bettering of self."
But, other responses from the "other" category included disempowering plans like "losing weight and finding a boyfriend." There were also personal objectives like focusing on a"relationship with god," and motivational like "character strengthening" and "to not care if I offend anyone."
While plenty of women found resolution setting to be an empowering practice, others were bummed out by the process. Resolutions "do not contribute to my emotional stability," said one woman. Maybe it's not the making of resolutions that is the problem, but the kind of resolutions you make. It's easy to feel proud of yourself when you resolve to do something small and personal, like to say sorry less or try to look at things more positively, and it's easy to feel like a failure when your resolutions revolve around numbers on the scale or minutes on the treadmill.
Millennial women's goals for their best friends had very little to do with getting skinny or looking "good." Millennial women want their BFFs to go after what they want, take good care of themselves, stand up for what they want, and nurture their relationships. Maybe these are the kinds of resolutions that we should be making for ourselves, because contentment rarely comes from being a certain weight.