Why I’m Ditching the New Year’s Resolutions

Holidays / Inspiration / Self-Improvement

Summer Resolutions

Confession time

 We’re midway through the year and I’ve either broken or forgotten my New Year’s resolutions. This is not surprising given my consistently lousy track record for following through on New Year’s resolutions. And last year in the week between Christmas and New Year’s Day, I was slightly preoccupied with the ordeal of a 220 mile move. And then there was the whole Mayan Apocalypse thing looming over our heads. Obviously, I survived both (whew!) but sadly my resolutions didn’t.

Upon further reflection, though, I’ve decided to ditch the New Year’s resolutions. The whole concept seems a little tired, a little too twentieth century! I think a “Resolution Makeover” is long overdue, so I’m taking the metaphorical chainsaw to this tradition.

Here’s what I’m doing for a “resolution makeover”:

1. Choose a start time that feels right

I’m rocking the boat…asking myself why I’m entitled to a fresh start only on January 1st. Why not the first day of summer or a holiday like Easter? Why not pick a start time that has personal significance? For me, birthdays are always an introspective time when I’m motivated to make changes. If you’re in school or have kids in school, then maybe the start of the school year is a natural time for resolution-making.

2. Pick a customized timeframe

A year is a long, long time. Instead, what about a “resolution” timeframe that’s short and tailored to my personal circumstances? Maybe it’s a season like summer or fall. Maybe it’s a financial quarter or a countdown to our anniversary or a long-awaited trip. I prefer short and sweet so 40 day or 100 day timeframes resonate more with me than years.

3. Choose “resolutions” that are fun & exciting

My New Year’s resolutions usually focus on things that need fixing – the things I think I should do. Most of them start with the premise that I’m inadequate or deficient in some way. What if, instead, I focused on things I want to do – things that make me happy, things that I love, things that I want to explore? Maybe resolutions work better if they’re based on wants, not needs. Think joy and pleasure – not willpower and discipline. I’m blowing my own mind here and starting to think of resolutions as gifts I can give myself.

4. Rename my “resolutions”

After so many years of making and breaking resolutions, the word itself has accumulated some Samsonite-grade baggage. It carries a faint whiff of futility and failure. So since I’m going to make fun “resolutions” that start when I want and end whenever I please, a name revamp is needed. Right now, I’m working on my “Summer Bucket List”. And if that’s successful, who knows, maybe I’ll come up with an Autumn Assignment or a Holiday Mission. The possibilities are limited only by my feeble imagination and limited vocabulary!

Now for the disclaimer: My abandonment of New Year’s Resolutions is purely experimental and the results of the above “resolution makeover” are not guaranteed! I’ll keep you posted on my “summer bucket list” progress….

What about you? Do you have any “resolution makeover” suggestions?



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  6. I’ve never been big on New Year’s Resolutions. I know myself and I know that just because it’s January 1st doesn’t mean I’ll suddenly have the motivation to do those things that I don’t want to do. I set goals monthly – usually 3 at a time. And I try to make them goals I might actually be able to accomplish – just small things. Like instead of “eat better” it might be “drink 3 glasses of water a day”. Then the next month I might build on that.


  7. I love the idea of keeping the resolution to a shorter time period and making it something fun. New year’s resolutions always seem like a list of ways to punish myself rather than fun ways to make my life better. Thanks for putting a new spin on things!


  8. notquite1 says

    I never understood New Year’s Resolutions. I guess like you suggest, it doesn’t have enough personal significance to me. I like your idea of a bucket list. I do something similar with my kids every summer and it is so much more fun than resolutions!


  9. Great post! I completely agree, the New Year’s Resolution is so overrated. Instead, I try to adopt my own system for personal goals. At the beginning of each month, I’ve started to put down in writing what I accomplished the previous month, and what I’d like to accomplish this upcoming month. Sometimes I even break it down week by week. I think the key is breaking your personal goals into smaller chunks and writing it down somewhere – your blog, a notebook, whatever – this helps to keep you accountable!


  10. I think you’re on to something here! I stopped doing new years resolutions because they almost felt like a chore and there was so much expectation regarding fulfilling them. This year I chose one word that would guide my year. That word was “community.” But the idea of short-term resolutions and fun stuff in particular… that gets my interest!


  11. Great idea! That makes so much more sense! I never set new years resolutions for those very reasons. Plus, like you said, after Christmas I’m not thinking about how to do anything but recover. Just before summer I am energized and ready to go! (found you on the hop!)


  12. I’m a chronic list maker. I constantly have goals for self improvement or things I want to try. I love the idea of ditching Jan. 1 and doing things you want, rather than things you need to do. On your own time. Brilliant.


  13. RRgamer82 says

    Great blog post!!! This is so true!!! The New Year’s Resolution is now a complete cliché. I don’t know about anyone else, but I get tired of all the direct mail I start getting on Dec. 26th from every gym and health quack in the area trying to guilt me into joining.

    All they want is to land me on retainer and hope I never come in so they get some passive income. These people know there is too much going on after the Holidays for anyone to focus on starting a new goal. Never mind jumping into one full speed with out any planning or preparation, as they all suggest.

    Doing New Year’s Resolutions are the equivalent of putting your goals through instant shock therapy. Forcing yourself to reform at a time when you’re decompressing from the Holiday Rush. Personal goals should run on my time, not their time!


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