Why New Year’s Resolutions Never Work

Friday 30 December

Let’s talk New Year’s Resolutions, or NYRs.

What is a new year’s resolution (NYR)?

An NYR is a practice where a person resolves to continue good practices, change an undesired trait or behaviour, accomplish a personal goal, or otherwise improve their behaviour at the beginning of a calendar year.

To me, NYRs aren’t what they seem. I believe they only set people up to fail. There’s the hard truth. As soon as it hits NYE or NYD, social media becomes flooded with everyone’ NYRs, and I view that as toxic. A lot of the time we hear people wanting to make resolutions based on diet and exercise. That’s a point I will come back to later on.

First of all, you don’t need to wait until the first of the year (or first of the month) to incorporate new habits into your life. If you want to change, you can change any day, any time of the month. However, this also sends a bad message. You don’t need to change.

If you generally do want to change something about your lifestyle – for example, do more cooking instead of ordering in, or buying less coffee in cafes to save money – then absolutely go for it.

NYRs are supposed to be, in my opinion, small and doable goals that anybody could enforce at any point of the year. If you do want to set some resolutions for yourself, my advice for you would be this:

  • Keep them small (so that they are actually doable)
  • Don’t make too many (five max.)
  • Think about why you want to achieve these goals
  • Also, think about if anybody has negatively influenced you to make this your resolution (social media in particular).

Take this as an example, if you’re a gym bunny like me, you’ll dread the first week of January when the gym is packed full like a tin of sardines. Gyms reduce their membership prices or offer deals on their packages to entice people to join to “achieve their NYRs”. By the end of January, maybe February, the gym goes back to its normal capacity, as many people drop out and “fail” at their goals. This is exactly what I am talking about when I say that NYRs set us up for failing.

We put too much pressure on ourselves at the start of each year, to do marvellous things, extravagant things, and a lot of the time, these don’t work out. We feel helpless, stupid and, inevitably, like a failure. Truly, we have failed at something. But that’s because we were focusing on just getting this resolution done, as another tick on the to-do list, instead of changing our mindset.

I urge you this year to think of NYRs differently. For me, I am not making any “New Year’s resolutions” this year. Instead, I am focusing on what I want my 2023 to look like. That way, we can take these goals and habits that I want to reintroduce back into my life (because the last two months of this year have revolved around doing very little and resting – it’s winter, that’s what we are supposed to do!), and make them last all year round.

Instead of making resolutions and new goals to tackle in the new year, try training your brain into a new mindset. I have talked about this lots on my podcast (This is just the beginning) and here on my blog. In order to make true changes in our lives, it all comes back to our minds and how we view the world we live in and how we view ourselves. This then comes back to the centre point: self-care and learning to love yourself again. Why do you want to make these changes in the first place? Why do you want to go back to the gym? Answer these questions truthfully and find out the whys of the things you want to accomplish. That way, maybe your “resolutions” may stick around a little longer this year.

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