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Is New Year's Day An Arbitrary Date?

As a new year approaches, talk of resolutions resurfaces once again. I'm not entirely sure that a New Year's resolution really needs a definition or an introduction. They're just common knowledge in our society, an annual facet. They're our preemptive goals before a year starts, our "I wish I was ___" statements, the changes we want to see in ourselves. We make goals for our self-improvement, a promise to ourselves that we see a shift in some behavior during that year. New Year's Day has become what some may call and arbitrary date in our behavior shift, but is it really that arbitrary?

I remember writing really angsty Facebook statuses and tweets when I was a teenager about how stupid it was to create these resolutions on a "completely arbitrary" date year after year when none of them would get accomplished. What kind of pessimistic mindset is that? As I've grown older and have tried to grow out of that defeatist mentality, I've looked at New Year's Day as less of a date chosen at random and more as the start of a clean slate. I suppose it all has to do with perspective. I can't change somebody's perspective on a day of the year, but who knows.

What is wrong with people using the start of a New Year as a chance to start fresh or to make changes that they want to make in their life? Why be so bitter about a day that somebody looks forward to and treats with hope? If people want to use a new year as an opportunity to change, why would you try to stop them? Sure, the steps to make a change can be started at any point in the year. But why would you take away someone's chance at a symbolic fresh start with a new calendar year just because you think it's an arbitrary concept?

I think that if people are inspired to make changes, whether they're on a small or large scale, then we should support those changes. No matter if it's on the first of a new year or if it's on a random Wednesday afternoon in March. Regardless of the time or place setting, they should be treated with respect.

So, if you hear talk about New Year's resolutions going around, embrace the symbolic start to a new year. Because the start of a new year is like a landmark, a new year year full of new chances to succeed. Regardless of your thoughts on the subject of resolutions, at least take the chance to respect those around you because the start of a new year might be the only thing motivating them. Don't take that away from them.


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