Why I’m Not Making Resolutions This Year

Resolutions. They suck. I looked at my list of ‘resolutions’ from the past year and found that just a little more than half of the boxes were ticked. Why are resolutions so hard to keep? Why do we get so excited about them only to fail miserably – sometimes, in under a month? Why do they not work?

The ‘rush’ wears off.

I write my resolutions during the last week of December. I have a little bit of time, and I spend a couple of days before the New Year listing down resolutions; they even have categories. But with my huge fail rate, I decided that an investigation is needed and things must change.

The act of writing down resolutions is extremely satisfying. You know what I’m talking about. All gung-ho and raring to go; “Bring it on, [insert year here]!’, we sneer. By February of said year, well, you and I both know what happens. The resolutions are forgotten.

I believe this is because resolutions by themselves are nice, lofty goals but they are rarely bound by both accountability and time. I think we need both, not one or the other, to really stand a chance at achieving whatever we set out in January to do.

I’m setting milestones instead.

I like milestones. It’s a tangible goal that has a clear end in sight, and I can set a time or date limit for it. When I made my resolutions last year, I wrote that I had to “join at least four road races this year”. The activity was clear, but the goal wasn’t.

Before Labor Day of this year, I will have to run a half-marathon. But before that, I will have to run a ten-miler by April 1. I have given myself two milestones which should give me a better chance to make at least 50% of my annual goal of “four road races a year.”

So if you’re trying to lose weight this year, don’t write a resolution like “lose ten pounds” because there is no plan in place to help you do it. Try, “I’m skipping bread for three breakfasts this week until I can’t take it anymore” and “I’m not going to get out of the door until I’ve done a 10-minute bodyweight circuit on YouTube.” I actually did these, and while I miss bread dearly, I have no complaints about the size of my waistline.

Hack Sheet:

  • Think how, not what. How will I achieve my year’s goals? It’ll force me to think in action plans, not wishful thinking.
  • Categories help. I have five now: personal relationships, career, fitness, travel, and money.
  • Be prepared to adjust. Plans can get thrown out the window. I’ll set milestones that are flexible enough to be made easier/harder.

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