Why New Year’s Resolutions never work




Like you and so many others around the world, I am sitting here looking at a whole new year ahead and wondering what I need to do to make this next year better than the last. Hence, the ominous and formidable New Year’s Resolutions, usually are the result of such a thought.

I used to make resolutions on New Year’s Eve regularly, but as I got older I realized that I made them but never kept them. So, instead of figuring out what I was doing wrong, I stopped making them all together. I know that many find themselves in this same state of mind on the beginning of the new year, too.

I always start out with the best of intentions. You know the drill–lose weight, exercise more, stop _____ (insert whatever bad habit you want here). My goal is always to improve both my plight and my interactions with others by changing some part of myself.

Now, I believe that change is a good thing and that all humans have the ability to change; but I have problems with forcing change because of social norms and conventions. To me, this is why we all ultimately fail at achieving our New Year’s goals. We want to make changes for the wrong reasons, or we feel pressured by society into making certain changes. The only time a person can really change is if they want to make that change bad enough. If the desire for change comes from within and not from any external pressure.

Our society loves thin and fit. We see thin models and physically fit individuals posted all over our world. Just watch 10 min of television and see if that is not the truth. We love youth. We want perfection. But the truth of the matter is that there are more heavy or overweight people than thin people; there are more people out in the world who are just trying to survive and put food on the table. There are people out in the world who work 2 and 3 jobs just to keep the family going, and who don’t really have time to spend working out in a gym.

I think starting a diet, or starting an exercise program, or even breaking a bad habit are all good things. I just don’t agree that we have to jump right off the cliff to accomplish these things. Who decided that on the first day of the new year we would all go on diets, join a gym, and stop _____ (insert your bad habit)? When we make New Year’s resolutions, we are setting ourselves up to fail, don’t you think? We are pressured from the outside and don’t make these resolutions because we want to do so; hence the failure of said resolutions.

I propose instead of making resolutions, we use the end of the year to reflect on what we did that was good and what we did that may not have worked out as we wanted during the passing year. We should identify where we succeeded and where we failed during the old year and make a plan to change the bad outcomes during the new year instead. It is really easy to say, “I will lose weight” or “I will go to the gym and workout 3 times a week” or “I will quit smoking” or whatever. That really is the easy part. The part we never get to, however, is the hard part–making a plan. By identifying what we want, we next need to set a plan in motion to achieve those goals. Our plan needs to be set out in baby steps not in giant leaps. That is what we forget to do and that is what ultimately sinks us.

This year, I am not making resolutions but rather I am making a plan to achieve my goals for the new year. I am breaking all my goals down into little tiny steps with time limitations for each step. I am hoping that by doing this, my next New Year’s Eve will be more pleasant and less stressful.

Do you still make New Year’s resolutions? How does that work for you? I’d love to hear from you on this topic.

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