Why you should NOT make New Year’s Resolutions

Happy New Year

Bonne année! Welcome to 2015

Happy New Year

Did you make New Year’s Resolutions this year? So how are they going? Are you on track? Or are they a bit broken? Stale and soggy on the crumpled up bit of paper you wrote them on, or shifted out of your short-term memory where you were sure you stored them safely?

The MOST commonly broken New Year’s resolutions:

  • Lose Weight / Get Fit
  • Quit Smoking
  • Learn Something New
  • Eat Healthier and Diet
  • Get Out of Debt
  • Save Money
  • Spend More Time with Family
  • Travel to New Places
  • Be Less Stressed
  • Volunteer
  • Drink Less

Did you make any of the new year’s resolutions above? Have you a plan? Are you on track? Still?

Yes? Well, congratulations, you may go back to other tasks now…. or no? And you are wondering why you didn’t manage, even after 12 days or so?

New Year’s Resolutions – why do we make them?

and come February, satisfy ourselves that indeed, new year’s resolutions do not work

It is ingrained in us to create and make up New Year’s Resolutions, often in a state of panic, on Dec 31st, or even after New Year’s Day! We jot down the ‘usual’ (mostly from the list above). We feel under pressure to conform, and be like everyone else. But, like most others, we forget, we abandon, we procrastinate, we avoid, and come February, satisfy ourselves that indeed, new year’s resolutions do not work. They are a waste of time. Job done, move on…

Let’s backtrack a bit, and look at why they are a waste of time. OK, so you want to lose weight. You want a better work/life balance. You want more time with your family. Now think about how much thought you put into HOW you are going to achieve those resolutions.

But what do they really mean?

Wiki claims the definition of New Year’s Resolution is “a commitment that an individual makes at New Year’s Day.” The key word there is simply – commitment. You must be committed to succeed. But more importantly, you must be committed to the PLAN to succeed. So where is your plan?


QuoteWe all know it. Don’t we?

Would you like an alternative to new year’s resolutions?

Glad you asked…. because I have some alternatives for you, in 10 easy steps:

  1. Scrap your new year’s resolutions
  2. Get a piece of paper – write down 6-8 things you would like to change in your life
  3. Use language like ‘I want’ ‘I need’ rather than ‘I would like’
  4. Prioritise them 1-10, and pick the top 3
  5. With each TOP 3, set a goal – check out our comprehensive post on SMART Goal Setting
  6. Use positive, direct phrases like ‘I will do’  ‘I will make’ ‘I will go’ rather than ‘I could’ or ‘I should’
  7. Once each goal is SMART, make a specific, timed plan for each, using the tips in the goal setting post
  8. Ensure you have a good specific, measurable, achievable goal,that is timed well
  9. Put them into your diary/calendar – marking out each stage date for each goal, and final dates
  10. If you are a visual person, collect images of your final goals, and put them on the bathroom mirror, wardrobe door, places you look often to remind you of the end game – the result!

Do ONE thing EVERY day, to get closer to achieving each goal

Find someone to be an ‘accountability’ buddy – perhaps you can hold each other accountable for your goals

If it is too much to manage 3 goals – for example, taking the time to get more fit, and spending more time with family, either share the time between them or further prioritise and tackle one first. A fantastic alternative to this, is to bundle 2 goals together, for example – ‘Spend more time with family as we improve our fitness together.’ So, rather than go to the gym 5 times a week, go twice and take the family hiking, swimming and cycling three times a week.

So there you have it – not a resolution in sight – only manageable, achievable goals 🙂

If you have been successful with new year’s resolutions in the past, please share with us in the comments below. If you would like an accountability coach, give me a shout, it will be a well placed small investment in your happiness, well-being and successful future.

Bonne santé





5 thoughts on “Why you should NOT make New Year’s Resolutions

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  • January 19, 2015 at 3:53 pm

    Yes – a plan is important. So are manageable steps. “I’ll never eat chocolate again” is far more daunting than “I won’t eat chocolate today”.

    It’s also worth noting that success in any resolution is not a magical key to happiness: “If only I was 20 pounds lighter, life would be all unicorns and rainbows”. Thinking like that we sabotage our resolutions after achieving them.

    • January 19, 2015 at 4:17 pm

      Giving up something as important and tasty as chocolate, is a big ask, Ivan. The suggestion you have provided is perfect and seems much more manageable than trying to imagine life without chocolate ever again. ‘Today’ is a baby step we can all manage.

      Achieving unicorn status, although specific, is not realistic, manageable or in my reality, achievable. That would sabotage my initial efforts and I would never achieve my goals. I am sure some people can imagine unicorns, but they don’t exist in my world 🙂

      Thanks for stopping by, I’m loving your approach for the chocolate. It would work very well for something like giving up smoking also, esp when used for each craving – “I’ll remain smoke free in this moment”

  • January 17, 2015 at 6:54 pm

    This is a great post Elaine. Certainly people shoudn’t wait until January 1st to make a pact to change something in their life – it can be done anytime and sooner rather than later. I have an “accountability buddy” and works wonders.

    • January 17, 2015 at 8:42 pm

      Well done on the accountability buddy Sian, imperative for staying on track unless you are super motivated, which we can be at times.
      If we want to make a change by Jan 1st, the prep work should be already done. I wouldn’t start preparing an Indian curry without my prep work done, all end games (goals) need prep work 🙂
      Thanks for taking the time to read and comment.

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