It’s come to a time of year where my social media has me all introspective and sad; I’ll log onto Twitter, read someone’s list of their 2016 achievements, and swiftly log out.

This is not out of irritation, or jealousy – it’s pretty inspiring to read about people’s hard work and creativity, and it makes me happy to hear that they’re happy. I too have achieved much in 2016 that I’m proud of. However, I’ve also spent a lot of time this year feeling low and doing absolutely nothing of worth; these have been periods where I’m anxious enough that I feel pressured to utilise my time in a “productive” way, but too depressed to enact my goals. The subsequent guilt and frustration I feel causes me to interpret others’ successes as my failures, and encountering lists of others’ achievements has me looking to 2017 with a desperation to be a better person by the end of next year. I imagine I will accomplish that by completing an endless array of resolutions – get fit, stop being so lazy, be more sociable, make more effort with friends and family, write more, get a hobby… It’s never ending, and through setting myself so many vague and unrealistic resolutions, pre-empt my own failure in achieving them.

I’m not alone. A 2015 ComRes poll for Bupa interviewed 2,014 adults, 63 percent of whom admitted to breaking a New Year’s Resolution. Of this 63 percent, 43 percent said their last broken resolution had not lasted even a month. The solution might be more willpower or commitment, but equally it could be that we need to make better resolutions.  

There are three main issues with resolutions of the nature I have described.

gal-dem are partnering with Amaliah, GUAP, and Gay Times to change the way we are advertised to this winter. This graphic is an advert for a survey that we hope you will take to help us change the industry forever. The graphic appears as a watercolour of pinks, oranges, blues, and greys with black text inviting you to take the survey, with all the magazines logos at the top.

Firstly, they are too much about me, and the person I am, rather than actions I can take and do. “Stop being lazy” – this sounds pretty cruel, something you would never say to someone you loved or cared about, and is also pretty unhelpful, more of a wish than a constructive resolution. Additionally, (and this is the second issue), it is not a specific resolution. “Stop being lazy” or “get fit” doesn’t tell me how I will do these things or how often and therefore know whether I’ve achieved it. Thirdly, they are just not achievable. There’s loads, and they all take a lot of work! Therefore, my last act of 2016 to better myself is going to be to make better New Year’s Resolutions.

  • Leave the house to swim, or go to a yoga class, at least once a week. While inwardly, I am hoping to exercise more frequently than this, once a week is more than I did last year, so it’s good to set an achievable target. Also, I like swimming and yoga.
  • Call up a friend once a week. I don’t see my friends enough, it’s true – but we all work full-time jobs and are tired pretty much all the time. A phone call is more personal and valuable than a WhatsApp message, but again, I am being realistic with this.

I’m also going to be kind to myself if I don’t achieve these. Being harsh on myself isn’t going to make me a better person, or 2017 a better year. It’s important our New Year’s Resolutions reflect this sentiment, and are formulated out of kindness rather than self-punishment.

Happy New Year!

Animated advert for gal-dem's membership model

More from gal-dem

Baby Rose photograph by Donté Maurice

How singer Baby Rose learned to love her magic, husky voice


‘Black women are invisible’ – how a new survey on journalism diversity told us what we already knew

Wunmi Mosaku as Ruby in Lovecraft Country

Ruby’s race-swap in Lovecraft Country and the horror of wasted privilege

error: Content is protected !!