Why You Don't Have To Make A New Year's Resolution

Hannah Burton/Bustle

Tradition and society tell women that on Dec. 31, they need to make a list of all the ways in which they're failing at life, and then resolve to fix them starting Jan. 1 — as if we spend the entire calendar year spinning out of orbit and need the nudge of a holiday tradition to get back behind the wheel. And sure, the concept of a New Year's resolution can be innocuous and progressive, but the fact remains: it's not for everyone. No one should feel bad about not making resolutions. In fact, if resolutions aren't your thing, no need to sweat — not making New Year's resolutions can actually be an extremely feminist move.

Not all women have their minds and hearts tethered to a calendar. Our feelings and our strengths and frailties are not as simple as a wish on a midnight star or crashing crystal lightbulb. For many of us, we're constantly resolving to go after our goals, and our resolutions are more powerful and impactful than vowing to avoid sweets and take more spin classes.

If you are tired of making promises that are more geared toward society's expectations of women rather than your own needs, I'm with you. Here are a few more reasons why it's more feminist not to make a resolution this year.

Psst! Check out the "You IRL" stream in the Bustle App for daily tips on how to have an empowering 2017 starting Jan. 1. Right now, tweet @bustle about how you plan to make 2017 the best year yet. Use the hashtag #2017IRL, and your tweet could be featured on our app.

The days leading up to Jan. 1 are cluttered with messages encouraging women to "better" themselves in the new year. But you know what? You can set your own goals on your own time. New Year's is just a day to celebrate another year. Instead of making resolutions, spend time applauding yourself for all you've done, and get excited about how much more ass you're going to kick in the new year.

We are flawed, but we are human. And putting our energy toward focusing on the negative takes away from our ability to focus on the positive. Women don't have to be any one way. We don't have to have rock hard abs, or drink more water, or control ourselves around a dessert spread. We don't have to date more, or sleep with fewer people. Women can do whatever they darn well please.

If you want to run a marathon, sign up for a marathon — but don't do it because you're trying to prove anything to anyone. Making radical goals for yourself for the sake of impressing others is not the way to feel better about yourself. Feminists don't sign up for a block of over-priced cardio classes so that they can take a sweaty picture for their Tinder profile to prove to others that they care about themselves. Feminists do things for themselves.

Gyms across the country will receive a flux of memberships in the next week from both men and women, hair salons will over-book, and sales will sell out. But in terms of making introspective resolutions about self-improvement, the concept often feels much more geared toward women. Society pressures women to be better, fitter, smarter, kinder, classier, prettier — but what does it tell men? To cut back on booze? The best way to reject this imbalance is to abstain from making a resolution this year. Instead, give yourself a pat on the back, and look forward to another year being the awesome, badass feminist that you are.

Check out the "You IRL" stream in the Bustle App starting on January 1 for daily tips on how to have an empowering 2017.

Images: Hannah Burton/Bustle