No more New Year’s Resolutions

January 1st marks the New Year, when we traditionally reflect on the year that has just ended. Often resolving that there are things we will do differently or perhaps change in our lives for the year to come.

Janus, the mythological god of beginnings, for which January is named is thought to be the origins of the reflective nature and future visioning of the New Year. Janus was said to have two faces, one on the front of his head and one on the back. This allowed him to always look backward and forward at the same time.

I was with some family and friends this past week when this topic came up. Someone asked “who has made New Year’s Resolutions?” My response: “Not me. I don’t believe in them.” Approximately half of us make New Year’s resolutions. I am not one of them. 

There are a couple of reasons why I just don’t get the point. First is the idea that this one time of the year is our prime opportunity to make change or have something different in our lives. To me, this is just another way to delay your life. Life is NOW. No matter when that now is. Each day that you open your eyes you have the same opportunity to choose something new.

Another reason is that way more people fail than succeed. Sure the first couple of weeks tend to go fine but check in with people in February and the vast majority have fallen by the wayside. Repeated failures lead to lowered self esteem and create unconscious lack of trust in ourselves.


Here are some of my top reasons why resolutions fail:

    • The resolution you set isn’t something you REALLY want but more likely something you THINK you should want.
    • Resolutions are often based ion changing behaviors rather than on the source of the behaviors; your thoughts and beliefs.
    • The focus is on stopping something. Trying NOT to do something, avoiding something, does not breed positive results or affirming feelings.
    • They are often based in the premise that something is wrong with you as-is. Basically, they are based in a judgment of what IS. Anything we judge, we lock into place.


Before you finalize your list of resolutions, here are some tips to increase your chances of success:


      1. Don’t set yourself up – Be realistic. You have no idea how hard that is for me to say! I am not a big fan of living life being strictly logical and reasonable. In this case, I recommend a hefty dose. Be honest with yourself about what you can really do.
      2. Find your true source of motivation – Identify what experience you are REALLY after. Again, if we use the example of weight loss (arguably perhaps the highest made resolution each year), do you really want to loose 20 pounds or do you want to feel great when you walk into your reunion? That feeling, the experience is what you are really after. Go for that one. Knowing what your true motivation is will increase your chances of success.
      3. Ramp-up your resolution –  – Two ways to feel more successful more often in the process is to first ramp up your resolution. Say that you are going to go from not exercising at all to working out 7 days a week is a sure way to end up one of the statistics of failed resolutions. Start with two days a week and ramp up from there.
      4. Success breeds success – Feel more successful more often by breaking your resolution down into bite sized pieces. If you want to loose 20 pounds, first set your sights on five pounds. Then the next five. Small wins lead to massive victories.
      5. Press the reset button every day – Any long-term change requires a commitment and recommitting to that commitment each and every day. That doesn’t mean that you can’t have an off day. That means that each day, you have the chance to choose to commit again. Don’t allow yourself to completely throw in the towel for a small slip or misstep.



Here’s to your Success in the New Year!