Should We Give Up on New Year's Resolutions?

That's the question.

New Year's Resolutions Joe Plumb
Should we give up New Year's Resolutions?

I want to write something about why I don’t bother setting resolutions for the New Year.

It's only short, so I'll get right to the point.

I feel there is a tradition and a certain pressure around feeling you have to set resolutions. To improve yourself — as though you are not already to be accepted as you are now. There's that unsaid feeling that — the more you set a resolution, the more we feel we’re not good enough.

Like we have to set a resolution to compensate for supposed guilt, and to feel valid.

Why can’t we just be?

And then, for some of us, there is the compounding shame and guilt when we eventually give up on the resolution mid-January. Adding to the feeling that we are not good enough.

Personally, I think if you’re going to do something like this, you could set goals instead. They are a bit like resolutions — but are attainable, more focused and more specific.

As an example, your New Year’s resolution might be to lose weight. First of all — what does that mean? A broad statement like this could mean a lot of things to lots of different people. Why do you want to lose weight; is it because you feel that you ate too much over the Christmas period? Is it because deep down you want to improve yourself?

Will you actually feel better within yourself after losing the weight?

To make this goal more attainable, we need to break it down a bit. For example, you could say ‘I’m going to go on a 20 minute walk every day’. That way, there is something comprehendible to aim for. You’ve got a goal, you are going to be improving yourself (if you want to), and it’s measurable because you're focusing on the time spent making an effort to be healthier, rather than the fact that you ‘need to lose weight’. You will end up losing weight eventually, but it'll be a by-product of this goal.

We can apply this process to any kind of resolution. A goal for me would be to ensure that I write every day. Again, that broad statement is overwhelming. So, I would break it down to ‘I’m going to write 20 minutes every day’.

I can then break it down further, if need be.

Can you see how breaking down these goals helps you better achieve what you want to achieve? This process is a lot less open-ended.

I’m not saying you have to give up on resolutions, but it’s definitely something to consider. It has definitely helped me in my own self development, so hopefully it can help you too.

Thank you for reading!