Elementary school was the first and last time I made New Years Resolutions.
You know that quintessential classroom activity where you write a your resolution and put it in a paper bag? Then open it at the end of the year to see if you kept it? Even at a young age I saw the silliness of it all.
As an adult, I’ve never made a New Years Resolution. It’s not that I think they’re a bad idea; rather, I feel that they are not the most efficient way to make life changes. Here’s why…
Why I Never Set New Years Resolutions
These are the three main reasons that I don’t bother with New Years Resolutions and what I do instead:
1. Why wait? I don’t!
There’s no need to hold off on making a positive change. Deciding to quit smoking or start exercising are all things that will benefit you the minute you go for it!
If I decide that something needs attention in my life, I address it right then. If I tell myself “I’ll do it later” then there is the chance that I’ll lose my motivation and not do it at all!
Setting goals or making changes on the spot has two benefits:
- You enjoy the results/benefits of your positive change immediately.
- You don’t give yourself the chance to back down or chicken out.
2. Rigid goals aren’t always realistic, so don’t set yourself up for failure.
Statistics show that only 8% of those who make New Years Resolutions actually keep them. So odds are, you’ll slip up at some point — even if it isn’t entirely your fault.
For example, say I set a resolution to exercise 6 days a week. Then one week down the road, life socks it to me. One of the kids is sick, I end up with more work assignments than usual, and one of our cars breaks down. It would be understandable to not exercise every day under those circumstances. But technically, that would mean I failed my resolution.
Perhaps it’s because many New Years Resolutions are unrealistic. Whatever the case, instead of setting a strict year-long goal and feeling bummed if I don’t make it, I try to live my day-to-day life the best I possibly can. And I give myself the flexibility to adapt when needed, meaning I’m more likely to keep my goals in the long run.
3. Some changes aren’t meant to last – it’s ok to adapt!
Our life circumstances change. Our needs change. So it makes sense that our resolutions aren’t set in stone until the end of time. (Or even a year).
Say I make the resolution to exercise for 30 minutes every morning (can you tell what many of my goals involve?) Then I get a new job that requires me to be at work by 7:30am. Unless I want to wake up at 5:00am for my daily sweat sesh, I’m not keeping that resolution after all. (And I am not exactly a morning person!)
Life is ever-changing, and our goals need to be able to change with it.
New Years Resolutions aren’t necessarily a total waste…
If making a New Years Resolution is something you look forward to, or if setting a specific “start date” helps you to actually take a big step, then by all means do it!
Or if it’s a fun family tradition on New Years Eve, there’s no reason to ruin the party.
But if New Years Resolutions ever make you feel like a failure, then maybe it’s time to re-evaluate. Positive change should be just that…positive. And you don’t need one special day a year to do something good for yourself and others!
You might also like these posts on living positively:
- What We Can Learn About Effective Communication from a 2 Year Old
- Finding Strength Through Grief
- 4 Ways to be More Productive Now
- 10 Ways to Instantly Improve Your Mood
- How to Develop Self Confidence that Will Change your Life
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