Why I Don't Make New Year's Resolutions
Welcome to 2021 everyone! I hope you all had a happy beginning to what I am praying is a good year for all of us.
I'm sure all of you have made a new year's resolution at some point in your life. I know I have. Why? Because we're supposed to want to change and make ourselves into the best version of ourselves because it's a new year and therefore a new chance to start over. I don't know about you, but every time in the past I've set a New Year's resolution, I've completely failed.
Did you know that about 80% of people give up on their New Year's resolutions by February and 88% fail completely? (Warren). That's a big number considered how much we hear about how we all need to set resolutions.
Towards the end of 2018, I decided that I was no longer going to be making New Year's resolutions. I wanted to change for the better, but I wasn't going to keep setting myself up for failure year after year. In today's post, I want to share my reasons why I don't set New Year's resolutions and what I do instead.
Too Long of a Timeline
A year is a REALLY long time: 365 days, 52 weeks, 12 months, 4 seasons. A lot can happen in that time and a lot can change. Take 2020 alone for example. You don't know what you will need in a year, let alone next week. It's much easier to get distracted and give up on your goals when you have so much time planned to reach them.
It's also really daunting to set all of these bigs goals in the beginning of the year and then realize a month in that you still have eleven months to go.
Comes from a Place of Obligation, Not Desire to Change
The only reason why I ever set New Year's resolutions is because I felt like I had to or because it's something I "should" do. Year after year, I would sit down in December and tell myself that my New Year resolution was to get healthy or lose weight or pay off debt, but would never take the time to set myself up for success because I just didn't care enough about those goals. I would sign up for the gym, but always make excuses about why I couldn't go. I'd make a list of my debt, but would leave my credit cards in my wallet.
If you make goals for yourself from a place of obligation and the feeling of "I should" instead of a place of genuine desire to improve yourself, you'll find it really difficult to maintain enough motivation to reach the end of your goal.
Unrealistic And Generic
New Year's resolutions for me were always so broad: I want to get healthy, I want to get out of debt, I want to socialize more, I want my skin to clear up, etc. With so much time to reach a goal comes the mindset of "It has to be big otherwise it's not worth the time," which is a statement I somewhat agree with. I believe that the size of the goal needs to be appropriate for the length of time allotted to reach that goal.
That all being said, it is important to make large goals, but it is also important to create steps and smaller goals within those large goals in order for the large goal to be realistic and attainable.
It's also helpful and much needed to clarify large goals, especially broad and generic ones. "I want to get healthy" could mean "I want to lose 15lbs", or "I want to stop eating an entire bag of family sized Hot Cheetos during an episode of Lost," but it could also mean, "I should start going to therapy." Defining your large goals with smaller ones means that you have tangible steps to work towards instead of just doing whatever and getting discouraged when it doesn't fit your needs.
Which one would you find easier to support? "My goal for the year is to get healthy" or "I'm going to start going on a walk at least once a week." The second one, right? Why? Because you can offer to go on walks with them or remind them on Wednesdays that "hey, if you haven't gone on your weekly walk yet, you've got half a week left" or something along those lines.
New Year's resolutions are the only goals I have ever set that have had little to no support at all. I have a really great support system right now, but those people would not be able to support my New Year's resolutions because there is nothing to support: no steps, no small goals to reach, no substance, no internal motivation, nothing.
What I Do Instead
This isn't just a post where I'm going to bash New Year's resolutions and not offer some sort of alternative. These are the steps I have discovered since giving up making New Year's resolutions that have led to continuing to stay motivated and reaching/surpassing my goals.
• Set small weekly and monthly goals.
A couple of my weekly goals right now are to spend less than $100 on non-bill related items, journal once a week, drink at least three tumblers full of water a day, and do at least two non-dance cardio exercise videos on Youtube. One of my January goals is to get past my weight loss plateau and finally reach the first small goal I made in my weight loss journey.
• Choose one big goal to work towards and create a plan to support that.
This year I want to get financial healthy by doing things like not shopping when I'm depressed, paying off some of my debt, and saving about $2000. How I'm supporting this is I took my credit cards out of my wallet and placed them in a safe place where I'm unable to access them, I made a spending log journal where I will write down the date, dollar amount, and place every time I spend money this year, and have planned to sit down every other week with my husband to look over our current finances.
• Create my own accountability in my bullet journal through to-do lists, monthly trackers, reward charts, etc.
I love my bullet journal and use it for pretty much everything. In my 2021 bullet journal, I have a monthly goals page where I will write down my goals for each month, a weight loss tracker/reward chart, a debt repayment tracker, monthly habit trackers, and more.
• Surround myself with or join groups of people who are working towards similar goals
Unfortunately, 2020 came with a lot of hard decisions regarding my relationships with certain people in my life where I had to come to the conclusion that my life would be much healthier and happier without them in it. I do know that by refocusing my energy from those people into other people who support me and love me in the way I need, I will be able to reach my goals much easier.
I'll definitely keep you all updated on how my goal reaching goes this year. This blog is going to play a part in those goals, and I can't wait for you guys to experience all of the new and exciting stuff I have planned for Millennial Whiskey in 2021.
Take a shot for 2020 being over and toast to 2021 finally arriving.
Wallen, Daniel. “10 Reasons Why New Year’s Resolutions Fail.” Lifehack, 28 Dec. 2020, www.lifehack.org/articles/lifestyle/10-reasons-why-new-years-resolutions-fail.html.