Stop Making New Year's Resolutions

Updated: Jan 1

As you begin another new year and take a look at your current life, consider areas that could use some improvements. According to a survey of 2,000 people revealed the top resolutions of 2019 were:

  1. Diet or eat healthier

  2. Exercise more

  3. Lose weight

  4. Save more and spend less 

  5. Learn a new skill or hobby

  6. Quit smoking

  7. Read more

  8. Find another job

  9. Drink less alcohol

  10. Spend more time with family and friends

Do any of those look familiar? How many years have you set the same resolution? If you are like me you wake up on January 1st and say to yourself, "I cannot believe it is the new year. Where does the time go?" And then you think of all of the things you intend to accomplish in the upcoming shiny new year. The first of the list for many folks is to diet. Those 10, 20, 30, 40 plus pounds that you resolved to lose the past year are still hanging around, so you resolve that this year you are really going to do it! I'm with you. Whether it's saving money, going to the gym or drinking less, you name it and I have resolved to do it. So what goes wrong? What happens to all of that enthusiasm? Does it just go away? The short answer is no. So then why are we not successful at maintaining that enthusiasm and sticking with those resolutions? The answer is simple.

New year's resolutions are too specific, too time consuming, too restrictive, too unrealistic, and quite frankly are usually designed to fail. Maybe we do this subconsciously so that we can keep creating resolutions year after year. Let's take the most popular one, diet. Is it possible to lose 10, 20, 30, 40 plus pounds? Absolutely! But one of the most common ways that people do this is through calorie restricting diets that are not sustainable. They lose weight initially then creep back into their normal daily routines and often times slowly regain the weight they lost. So what am I saying? Simply put diets do not work. Lifestyle changes do.

A new year's resolution is just that. It is neither good nor bad, it just "is". In 2019 I stopped making new year's resolutions. Instead, in 2019 I developed a theme for my new year. My theme was simply "self-care". I didn't chose this to be vague but rather so I could shift it as needed based upon what was happening in my world. I knew I wanted to cook more at home, spend more time practicing yoga, and also learn more about Ayurveda. All of those fit into my theme. When multiple activities support your overall goals then you are more likely to make changes that work together to adjust your lifestyle.

When considering a resolution, or theme, think about the things that are working in your world and also those things that are not.

Here is an example: Let's say that your friend asks you to call a caterer to set up food service for a party. How would you do that? You probably do an online search for the best local caterers and then you check out their website, look at some customer ratings and then give them a call. If you like what they offer then you set it up and just like magic, it's done. Simple, right? Now let's say that your friend asks you to plan a menu and come up with several recipes and prepare food for 50 people for the upcoming weekend. Well, maybe you can do that but for me it would be disastrous. Could I pull it off? That is a solid maybe. I have a full-time job and I own a yoga studio and have family that I like to spend time with but I think I could probably do it if I had to. Great. Now let's say this friend, who I am actually beginning to question the relationship, asks for you to do this every weekend for the next 52 weeks. Is that reasonable? For most of us that is a big undeniable NO. That is how I view new year's resolutions.

Be realistic and consider self-kindness when setting themes and resolutions and celebrate the small wins and don't beat yourself up over setbacks. Think of your life and what is important to you and set goals, or create themes, that support all that will help you to become the best version of you. You've got this!