Why I don’t set New Year’s Resolutions


I’ve never thought much of making New Year’s Resolutions. Technically the difference between December 31st and January 1st is a day. By the 1st of a new year, people have spent weeks preparing for stressful holiday times and are likely depleted of the energy and willpower needed to make a successful resolution work. It is something we feel obligated to do. Everyone will ask us what our New Year’s Resolution is and we feel we need to have something to say. When most people fail at the resolution a few weeks later, they give up.

This reminds me of the dancers at the summer stock theatre I used to work at. They were skilled professional, but nearly all of them smoked. We usually had two weeks between shows as well as weekly children’s plays that went up for day performances then came back down before the evening play. We always had one night for change-over. Change-over is taking down the sets and putting up another in time for the dress rehearsal the next afternoon. The whole summer is a fun, but busy roller coaster ride. The middle show of the summer allowed three weeks between the change-overs. This time was more relaxing, yet it never failed that the dancers would try to quit smoking the weekend of a change-over. Why not quit during the three weeks we had nothing but nightly shows with the same routine for nearly a month? Can you guess what result I always saw? Yes, they failed to quit smoking and made themselves crazy in the meantime.

I find myself setting goals for the year that are things I already have in the works and have plans to do better at. I make more determined resolutions when I feel the drive to no matter what time of year it is. You are more likely to succeed at something in the moments you get angry enough, fed up enough, determined enough, that you take action with a clear and likely-to-succeed plan. You don’t want to give out only a few steps up the mountain. So take time to make the goal realistic and planned out. Make sure you have contingencies for temporary set backs. Allow yourself room to grow through the process of making those changes. It is said that 21 days will change a habit. Work on those 21 days then see where you need to go from there. I say this for myself as much as anyone else.

What I end up doing that is more like the frivolous New Year’s Resolution is set goals based on my birthday. “I’m going to write a book before I’m 35.” “I will have a Master’s Degree by the time I’m 45.” These goals have to be adjusted or they can devastate me. I did have a book written before I was 35. It wasn’t publish ready though. Who knows if getting a Master’s degree by 45 is reasonable at all. I also find I set goals based on my children’s birthdays too. These tend to be family goals and are most often based on the youngest toddler child or the oldest teenage child’s birthdays. I will no longer need a massive van in 8 years when my youngest is about 10. Yes, by then most the kids will be well into adulthood. Wow, how time flies and goal making changes.

So make a resolution that is easy to succeed at. “I will think of something happy every day.” or “I will tell the people I love what they mean to me at least once a month.” Can you imagine someone you care about telling you why you matter to them twelve times this next year? Do we even hear that once a year? Please don’t torture yourself with a certain amount of pounds to lose. If you’re like me you can’t always control your weight no matter the effort. Make this a resolution you can control. That your willpower will be able to maintain.

Give your suggestion of a good New Year’s Resolution in the comments and I will send you the first chapter of my book!
I can’t wait to hear your ideas.

Bring those ideas in like the ringing in of the New Year!

3 thoughts on “Why I don’t set New Year’s Resolutions

  1. I don’t really make New Year’s Resolutions either, but I do refresh my goals. I’ve been plodding along for a few years trying to revise a novel I’ve written and I need to finish it already! I’ve set myself a goal of revising a chapter a week (at least) and to let people actually read and critique it for me. Yikes! I uploaded my Prologue and Chapter 1 on Google docs back in November. Now I just need to find the courage to ask people (besides the hubs) to read it… I’m working on it. 🙂

    Happy New Year!

    • I am willing to help you if you want it. You can email me at shannonlreagan@gmail.com. I can send you the first chapter of my book from there. Writing a book is a long hard process and I congratulate you for getting as far as you have! I am shocked I made it as far as I have. It has been half a decade of serious work on novels that leads to my hopeful release of my book in March! Keep writing and keep goal setting!

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