New year, new me: Myth or reality?

Winky Wong/File

It’s not Jan. 1 anymore — it’s well into February. You know what that means. Where are we all at with our New Year resolutions? Have we all become the brand new people that we thought we would become? The hashtag #newyearnewme popped up all over our social media feeds in the beginning of January. Not to mention, there were all those people captioning celebratory selfies with “new year, new me” on Instagram. Now that the euphoria of fireworks and glasses of champagne have worn off, is this whole concept a myth or a reality?

Brian Kim, a fourth-year political economy major, finds a source of superficiality with the idea of “new year, new me.”

“In the past, a lot of my New Year’s resolutions have dealt with changing the outer layers of my personal development,” he said. “And it sucks. It sucks to only treat the symptoms without addressing the underlying issue. Our current behaviors are simply a reflection of our current identity. You know, the whole actions speak louder than words. To change our behavior, we have to start believing in ourselves. My New Year’s resolution is to have no New Year’s resolution; it’s to believe in myself, that I can change and become better. That being said, I don’t go to the gym. Too many people.”

Despite the reality that we don’t magically transform into better people, Kim elaborates that it’s the thought that counts.

“When people say ‘new year, new me,’ I hope they understand they’ve always been the same. But I still enjoy saying it,” he said.

It seems as if “new year, new me” gives off the connotation that we will somehow evolve into the best versions of ourselves. But life isn’t just one instantaneous makeover. We are all works in progress. At this point in February, we can reflect on the things we want to change and congratulate ourselves on the progress we’ve made. We may try to revamp our routines and rebrand ourselves, but we’re just brushing up on the same canvas. At some point, we have to accept that we’ll slip up. We’ll have one or two cheat days from time to time, but that doesn’t mean that change is impossible. Reinventing the wheel is hard enough as it is. It’s far more efficient to tweak it until it’s just right. There are other ways to embark on the journey to self-improvement, which doesn’t happen overnight.

Yensy Zetino, a third-year molecular and cell biology and gender and women’s studies major, shares a similar opinion on the “new year, new me” bandwagon.

“I don’t really believe in the ‘new year, new me’ trend,” she said. “It’s a drastic goal to set up in a day. I feel like it’s forcing people to have New Year resolutions. I don’t participate in it because it just makes me feel bad that I might not have gone to the gym and lost those 50 pounds. I’d rather just do small things daily that are achievable to be a better person. New day, new me.”

As we approach the midpoint of the semester, let’s not forget to treat each day like a fresh start. Just because it’s not the first day of the year or the semester, it doesn’t mean that you can’t be on the road to becoming a better person now.

Contact Abigail Balingit at [email protected].