Why We Don’t Make New Year’s Resolutions

You probably hear the question every year– what is your new year’s resolution? Maybe, like many people, you do participate in this tradition. I decided I’m not that into it, and I will explain why.

I worked at a gym for a little while and, unsurprisingly, gym memberships spiked with the new year. Attendance from these newly-devoted, fitness fiends would dwindle as the months went on. A few months prior, these people were willing to sign a contract that obligated them to pay a monthly fee for their gym membership, only to let it go to waste. That’s like laying the foundation and buying supplies, but not building the house. What happened?

New year’s resolutions, though they can be vague, are really just statements of goals. There’s not much point in making a resolution if you don’t have the determination to reach the goals set. The thing is, a lot of people think they are ready to make that commitment but lose sight of their goal as time goes on. So how does one avoid becoming discouraged or losing interest?

The first thing you need to do is make a plan to reach your goal. If you don’t make a plan you are planning to fail. Planning involves creating smaller goals as the framework for big goals. Taking the steps necessary to reach smaller goals will seem less overwhelming and much more manageable. Reaching a number of set milestones can give you a greater sense of achievement, which keeps you motivated.

Another big influence to your success is being realistic about your goals. For example, don’t expect a year’s worth of progress to happen overnight. In addition, don’t set your sights on something you aren’t physically, mentally, or even financially ready for.

It is equally important to remember not to expect too much of ourselves in situations where we don’t necessarily have full control. While you will sometimes reach a speed bump or obstacle which requires you to slow down or take another route, remind yourself that you will still reach your destination in due time.

All that said, I don’t really commit to new year’s resolutions quite simply because I believe we should always be actively pursuing a better version of ourselves. Don’t get me wrong, I think goals are important and it is equally valuable to leave the past behind you, accepting it as lessons learned, but don’t limit yourself to setting goals because it’s a new year. Instead, commit to making improvements for yourself on a monthly, weekly, or even daily basis.

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