Why Your New Year’s Resolution Sucks

It’s that time of year again. By now, you’ve probably wolfed down more than your fair share of turkey and stuffing or latkes and pontshkes. You’ve probably also given-in to the siren song of a hundred sugary, chocolaty indulgences only to later feel the gastrointestinal sting of regret. Depending on your merry-making, you’ve also probably swigged or slammed your way to the bottom of one-too-many glasses (or bottles) of liquid holiday cheer, too.

So, here we are: the last week of the year. The home stretch. Get through New Year’s and you’re home free, right? After New Year’s, you’re going to straighten up and fly right. From this point forward, you’re going to eat more sensibly, cut back (a little!) on the drinking, quit smoking, and get those backburner projects done.

Just like that?

You and I are old enough and wise enough to know how those plans typically play out: The clock strikes 12, you go on your diet, you get your nicotine patch – or do whatever it is you’ve promised yourself to do, then BLAM! a few weeks or months later, you’ve actually gained weight, your New Year’s Eve face-in-the-toilet pleas to higher powers is somehow forgotten history, and the next thing you know, you’re sitting on your duff feeling fat, guilty, and overly drunk as you light yet another cigarette.

Sound familiar?

The problem isn’t whether or not you’re willing or committed enough to make a change in those things you’d like to see changed, it’s that we pressure ourselves and others to do it RIGHT NOW in this last week of the year – with little or no real planning. We force ourselves to conjure these last minute promises to ourselves, to even pick up past torches and blindly commit.

I can’t speak for you, but after the insanity of holiday shopping, the relentless gift wrapping, the pressured commitments to parties and gatherings (not to mention all the unnecessary eating and drinking), the last thing I really want or need is the added stress of throwing my life, my habits into a 180 degree turn that’s likely to become a spiral of failure and self-loathing.

Making dramatic changes in habit takes thought and effort because when we talk about resolving to do something for ourselves, what we’re really talking about is changing our pattern of behavior – behavior we’ve exhibited all our lives. In a very real sense, we’re resolving to make life altering changes and, as such, those things require careful thought and planning. So, what to do about this whole tradition of having a New Year’s Resolution?

If you feel you absolutely, positively must resolve to do something for this coming year, I urge you to truly consider when and how you will begin to implement those changes you seek for yourself. Set a realistic goal, set a reasonable date for any time during the year, mark it on a calendar, and begin preparations. Do your research, work new habits into your life slowly, and boil everything down to an action that you can do each day.

That in mind, you’ve just given yourself permission to celebrate and enjoy this coming New Year’s Eve and you’ve given yourself a way to make a change for the better. If all goes according to your well-thought plan for the near future, you’ll find your feet firmly planted on the path to success.

Happy New Year’s and Good Luck!


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