The University of Pittsburgh's Daily Student Newspaper

The Pitt News

The University of Pittsburgh's Daily Student Newspaper

The Pitt News

The University of Pittsburgh's Daily Student Newspaper

The Pitt News

Join our newsletter

Get Pitt and Oakland news in your inbox, three times a week.

President Joe Biden speaks on Friday at Carnegie Mellon University’s Mill 19 to tout his administration’s investment in infrastructure.
President Biden set to visit Pittsburgh this afternoon
By Brian Sherry, Contributing Editor • 1:05 pm
Satire | A better use for editorial space
By Anna Ehlers, Contributing Editor • 1:06 am

Join our newsletter

Get Pitt and Oakland news in your inbox, three times a week.

President Joe Biden speaks on Friday at Carnegie Mellon University’s Mill 19 to tout his administration’s investment in infrastructure.
President Biden set to visit Pittsburgh this afternoon
By Brian Sherry, Contributing Editor • 1:05 pm
Satire | A better use for editorial space
By Anna Ehlers, Contributing Editor • 1:06 am

Opinion | In and Out lists are out for 2024

Opinion+%7C+In+and+Out+lists+are+out+for+2024
Izzy Poth | Staff Illustrator

Happy New Year, dear reader! I hope that as the ball dropped in Times Square, any weight in your chest disappeared. I hope that you shared a New Year’s kiss with someone you cared about as the clock struck midnight and that your eyes flooded with tears as Auld Lang Syne filled the air around you. For in that first minute of 2024, you had a fresh slate.

Realistically, the issues that plagued you last year have likely stayed by your side, as much as I hate to admit it. However, I hope this new beginning has offered you a renewal in the belief that they won’t always be. That’s what I’ve always loved about the beginning of the year — the abundance of time laid out before me in which I know for certain that absolutely everything will change. I just cross my fingers that it will change for the better.

It goes without saying that change is terrifying, but it’s largely out of our hands. I would say it’s pointless to attempt to control it, but it’s human nature to try to — or shall I say, resolve to. New Year’s resolutions have become more symbolic of hope than realistic aspirations, reminding you that change can always be enacted, you are the captain of your own ship and that a new beginning can come at the snap of your own fingers. 

In recent years, people have gravitated toward more casual means of instituting these changes in their lives, such as the “In and Out” lists you have likely seen splashed across social media. These lists are the next phase in a long history of evolving forms of New Year’s resolutions.

The tradition of New Year’s resolutions is over 4,000 years old, beginning as promises made to the gods. Ancient Babylonians and Romans both partook in their own versions, though each aimed to gain the favor of the gods in the new year. 

Over time, resolutions have evolved into a more secular tradition where people make a promise to themselves, aiming to transform into their most evolved selves. Likely, you have thought to yourself, “I will exercise,” “I will eat better,” “I will stop biting my nails,” “I will spend less money,” “I will stop being my own worst enemy.” The list trails on endlessly, and I am sure that you, reader, are familiar with its winding path.

The most recent iteration of the New Year’s resolution is less formal, less traditional and less confining. The In and Out list is the casual, much cooler, younger sister of the New Year’s resolution. This vessel for self improvement has swept across the internet throughout the last few months due to the influence of internet personality and author Eli Rallo’s monthly installments via Instagram. 

Essentially, each list is a combination of inconsequential trends and self-improvement goals that have either proved themselves substantial and worthy of moving onto the next month with the creator of the list, or they have been overdone and no longer serve your mission of fulfillment in the quest for joy we call life. The In list holding the former and the Out list containing the latter, it’s a simple strategy to ensure gratification and accomplishment because it casts such a wide net. It’s okay if you didn’t hit your steps goal today because you lit a candle and took time for yourself. 

These lists began as a fun spin on our rapidly progressing trend cycle. Rather than finding, engaging with and then discarding trends, the lists replace them with habits. The lists offer the act of committing to New Year’s resolutions a much-needed balance, flexibility and, most importantly, grace in a process that many find grueling. It’s a beautiful sentiment, truly, but pure intentions are not synonymous with a flawless execution. 

Yucking someone else’s yum is the phrase that comes to mind when I think of In and Out lists — which exposes me as far more online than I would like to admit. These In and Out lists have surpassed being a way to externalize our problems. Instead, they’ve become a means for dictating trendiness — the mean girl mentality masquerading as self-help. 

Namely, the Out list has become a vessel used to shame other people for enjoying things that are no longer currently in line with the trend cycle. While it should go without saying that you are free to like what you do and dislike what you don’t, social media presences are all about perception. And the people most tuned in — young girls — crave validation above all and are following these lists to the letter.

Who cares if you have a phone chain or drink diet soda? Deeming aesthetics such as “the eclectic grandpa” and “the coastal grandmother” as opponents on the sliding scale of trendiness forces the revaluation of personal style and taste, which is so tightly bound to self-worth. These lists have the power to — and do — make people reckon with superficial, meaningless things that have no bearing on who they are as people. It pushes some arbitrary conception of “coolness” that is entirely dependent on consumerism. 

Resolutions are meant to give us a feeling of control over our circumstances, but we’ve allowed them to have the reverse effect of trying to control the lives of others. 

Just because you think you’re the shit doesn’t mean that you need to make other people feel like shit. Posting your resolutions online as a way of holding yourself accountable for sticking to them is respectable, but posting about them so that other people feel less than is a disgusting use of your own influence. It feels almost stupid to have to say, but if you don’t like something and it does no harm to yourself or others, keep it to yourself.

As long as you’re not going around kicking puppies, I don’t really care what’s in or out for you anymore. If it helps you, then make your vision board, focus on your goals and find ways to make them attainable. Godspeed, my friend.

Gabriela Herring is an English writing major with minors in English literature and secondary education. She mostly writes about things that her friends (and her mom) are tired of hearing her talk about. Write to her at [email protected].

About the Contributor
Gabriela Herring, Staff Columnist
Gabriela Herring is an English Writing major with minors in English Literature and Secondary Education. She mostly writes about things that her friends (and her mom) are tired of hearing her talk about. Write to her at [email protected].