New Year's resolutions suck balls. At Vulgar Advice, we've changed many a bad habit and reached a lot of our goals; not a single damn one of those has been a New Year's resolution.

Today, as the world nurses its hangover and you stand gazing boldly into the next calendar year thinking about how you're going to make it your bitch — and we say this with respect — fuck your New Year's resolution.

This year, instead of putting your amazing brainpower and emotional energy into setting resolutions that you — statistically — will abandon, get to know yourself.

Why do we even make New Year's Resolutions?

New Year's parties date back 4,000 years to the ancient Babylonians, who were the first people to hold celebrations to bring in the new year. These celebrations, called Akitu, lasted for 12 days (12!) and made the ball drop look lame is shit. For nearly two weeks, the Babylonians held raging parties filled with prayers expressing fear of the unknown, memorials, burning puppets, processions, weddings, and honoring the gods. Highlights include a ritual in which the King was slapped by the high priest to show humility to the gods (we support this, except it would have been cooler if each Babylonian citizen got to give the King a slap); tears in the King's eyes were a good omen for the coming year. 

The earliest known reference to New Year's Resolutions is from 1671 in the diary of Anne Halkett, a writer from Scotland. On January 2nd, Halkett, 48 at the time, wrote under a page she titled "Resolutions" that she would "not offend any more." We doubt she succeeded. 

By the early 1800s, resolutions and our failure to keep them were already the subject of satire. An excerpt from an article in Walker's Hibernian Magazine billed as "a compendium of entertaining knowledge," read, "Statesmen have resolved to have no other object in view than the good of their country…the physicians have determined to follow nature in her operations, and to prescribe no more than is necessary, and to be very moderate in their fees."

Data on New Year's resolutions is all over the damn place. For our purposes, we are going with Forbes. According to data from Forbes, 37% percent of Americans made New Year's resolutions in 2023. Less than 1% of people stuck to their resolutions, and they're probably psychotic overachievers or lying on the survey. 

Why we fail

Our New Year's resolutions don't necessarily fail. Most of us just say, "Fuck it," and abandon them. Why? Because change is hard shit, and the expectations we set for ourselves via New Year's resolutions are kind of nuts. Resolutions tend to be wide, sweeping changes made for the sake of tradition and not because we are ready or willing to actually do it. Most of us don't have a lot of practice in achieving successful, sustainable change.

A 2020 study published in the National Library of Medicine tracked 200 New Year's resolutions and found that readiness to change had a direct impact on a resolution being achieved. And readiness doesn't follow the Georgian Calendar. Readiness happens after a million tiny factors coalesce over time.  

Getting to know yourself

If someone walked up to you right now and asked you, "What's your greatest strength? What are your recurring thoughts? What emotion do you have a lot of trouble expressing? What emotion are you really comfortable expressing?" Would you even fucking know the answers?

With all of the working, fighting, loving, and playing of day-to-day life, we can become lost ourselves. Sometimes, we can say yes just to make things easier. We can stay at a job cause we don't hate it and not disrupt our relationship cause things are comfortable. We become fine with a lot of things but forget what brings us joy, what awakens us, what our gifts are.

We forget what all of this (gestures wildly) is all for. 

Getting to know yourself will help you adjust and feed the parts of yourself that really fucking matter. It will help you make the small decisions every day that lead to those big changes you aspire to when you set resolutions. 

Here are 49 questions to ask yourself throughout the year: 

What do you love doing?

What brings you joy?

What do you want

What makes you feel known? 

Where is one place you've always wanted to go? 

What do you value in yourself? 

What are you good at? 

What do you suck at? 

Do you love your job, or do you just not hate it? 

What's your perfect day? 

What do you want to learn? 

What drains you? 

What energizes you?

What are your not-so-healthy patterns?

Where do those come from? 

What are your recurring thoughts? 

What are you afraid of? 

What are you avoiding? 

What does success mean for you? 

How much money do you want to make? 

What do you want to do with it? 

How do you talk to yourself when you make a mistake?

How do you express your emotions? 

What kind of people are you drawn to?

What do you bring to your relationships?

How do you handle pressure? 

What are your habits?

What's your favorite way to spend time alone?

What do you consider before making a big decision?

Can you say "no" comfortably?

How do you show others love?

What makes you panic?

What makes you feel calm?

How do you feel when you move your body?

What are you most proud of?

What are you most ashamed of?

What activity makes time disappear for you?

Do you prefer talking or listening? Why?

What makes your body feel healthy?

What makes your mind feel healthy?

Have you ever felt brave?

What does safe mean to you? 

Is it easy or hard for you to accept help? Why?

What is a quality you wish you had but don't think you do? Why?

How do you react when someone is angry or disappointed in you?

Do you trust people easily?

What do you consider to be hard conversations?

Is your intuition usually on point? 

Do you trust yourself more than you doubt yourself?

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