4 reasons why New Years Resolutions don’t work.

On January 2, I googled ‘New Years Resolutions’ and 218 million results showed up. The same google search on January 9 turned up 24 million results.

Ok, they’re both numbers that are far too big for my mind to comprehend, but you can see from this that new years resolutions generally disappear pretty quickly.

How many will show up next week? Next month? Aren’t these things supposed to run for the whole year?

Let’s face it. It’s pretty pointless waiting all year to decide on one or two things that you kind of, sort of want to start or stop doing, simply because everyone else seems to be doing the same sort of thing.

Sounds a bit crazy to me.

Here are a few key reasons as to why these resolutions don’t work.


  1. They’re all about what you think you should do.

I should stop smoking, I should lose weight, I should exercise more.

Personally, I hate the word ‘should’. I’ve always felt that it immediately evokes feelings of guilt and negativity, which is never a good place to start a change for the better.

I much prefer more definite and positive action-oriented phrases such as ‘I will’ or ‘I am’.


  1. Resolutions are like very broad goals.

Broad goals. Many resolutions are just that. Pie in the sky you could call them, and very rarely they are backed up with a strategy and a definite plan of action.

Broad goals can be daunting. I get it. They can have the tendency to make you feel worthless, because there’s something you don’t have now that you aspire to have in the future.  Goals introduce a gap between where you are and where you’d like to be, which instantly makes part of where you are right now a place you don’t want to be – and this is how the very nature of these type of goals can hurt your self-confidence and self-esteem.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m all for setting goals and working towards them. Just need to make sure that they are realistic and achievable for you. Otherwise, they can do more harm than good.


  1. There’s no motivation or commitment.

I’ve heard that over a third of resolutions don’t make it past January, (Going by how busy my gym is from January 1 to February 1 each year, I tend to agree.)  and more than three quarters are abandoned soon after. The reason?

No commitment.

The problem is that you’re taking something that doesn’t mean anything to you and trying to make it happen.  Resolutions lack a foundation of meaning and personal relevance that makes sure they run out of steam.

Sure, you might get an initial burst of motivation that gets you started, but that never lasts. Motivation is like the big rocket boosters on the space shuttle – it gives you an initial spurt of energy to get up and get moving, but it’s just not sustainable.

What you need is something more fundamental, more central and more important to you. What you need is something that comes from the inside, something that’s based on what’s important and what matters to you.

That’s the only way to get behind it, have confidence in it and keep the motivation and commitment going.


  1. The timing’s all wrong.

Think about where you are when these resolutions are made. You’re on holidays, counting down the days with dread until you need to head back to work. You see the whole year stretching ahead of you, and your next proper break is nearly a year away.

It’s not exactly an inspiring picture, is it?

What kind of person waits all year to make a choice about something anyway?  Why wait for one particular day to make a decision, when there are 364 other equally great decision-making days available to you?

So, forget about making new years resolutions.

Living a full life isn’t about making some fluffy, half-hearted decision that doesn’t really mean anything. That’s not what successful people do.

Instead, make confident choices based on what really matters to you. Set the goals, set the strategy, put a plan of action in place, and jump in head first.

Author: Cameron McIver



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