Forget the New Year’s Resolution … Create a New You Resolution

I don’t like the idea of the New Year’s Resolution.

Frankly, I think the whole notion is counterproductive. And a study headed by Richard Wiseman of the UK justifies this claim. In 2007, a group of over 3000 people were tracked, as well as the progress toward their goal. Fifty-two percent of the cohort were confident they would achieve their New Year’s Resolution; at the end of the year, 88% had failed.

An 88% chance of failure? Wouldn’t it be fair to assume that this number should be lower? Why wouldn’t there be more success among people who have 365 days to achieve a set goal?

I find the New Year’s Resolution is a fad more than anything. Social norms state we should all celebrate the new year by having a goal we can talk about on New Year’s Eve. But should the change of the calendar really be our motivation? Can a change in the calendar be motivation enough? Apparently not … for 88% of us, at least.

That’s where my problem with this tradition lies. Why do we need a specific day on which we can decide, “I want to change myself”? Why is January 1st any better than March 10th … or July 17th … or August 7th … or December 26th?

Why can’t we motivate ourselves on any random day instead of letting the changing of the year motivate us? This is why the failure rate is so high—outsourcing our motivation makes failure inevitable. If you have a real goal in mind, you’ll go for it, hell or high water … regardless of the date on your Pug-A-Day calendar.

So if you must have a New Year’s Resolution, let it be this: over the next year make several New You Resolutions. If you want to change, if you want to improve yourself, start now. Whenever the fancy strikes you, go for it … and certainly don’t wait until next year to start striving toward your goal.

Now, with that rant out of my system … ¡Feliz Año Nuevo! (I’ve been working on my Spanish … and it’s not even January 1st yet!)

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2 Replies to “Forget the New Year’s Resolution … Create a New You Resolution”

  1. Don’t you think that, though it shouldn’t be the only time, New Year is a time when we consider what we have done in the past and what we would like to change for the future. Because we know that lots of other people will be doing the same it doesn’t seem too self-centred and perhaps, those who are serious about their resolutions, hope that they will find some support in an easy way. The key isn’t when you make your resolutions but how realistic they are and the strength of your resolve.

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    1. No Paddy, I don’t think it’s self-centered … and yes, the change of the year is a time to reflect on past and present. But what I’m saying is it seems that a lot of the resolutions made in recognition of the new year fail. And if support were so easy to find and were effective, why do most resolutions never come to fruition? If we were more cognizant of our past and future more than just once a year, we might see a greater change in ourselves, in our lives, a change we are all desirous of. But I do absolutely agree with you about the key to succedding: how realistic of a goal it is and how strong your resolve is.

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