Why I Don’t Do New Year’s Resolutions

Jan 2, 2012

“What are your New Year’s resolutions?”

I knew the question would eventually come, but I cringed at the words anyway. My son didn’t mean anything by it. He was simply asking the question everyone is asking. But I’m not a fan of New Year’s resolutions. And so I took a deep breath and prepped to answer with a short sermon-esque diatribe. But before I could launch, my less-verbose husband interjected:

“I don’t do resolutions. I’m going to do what I do every day: Wake up determined to be the person I need to be and live the best I can. I don’t need a New Year’s resolution to do that.”

Hear, hear.

He simply said what I feel about New Year’s resolutions. Excellence shouldn’t be something we discuss and promote once a year. It’s a lifestyle. And although New Year’s resolutions create energy and buzz for life changes, I find they last about as long as Fourth of July sparklers. Here are my reasons for avoiding them:

If something is worth resolving, it shouldn’t wait for New Year’s Day. For example, deciding to exercise and eat right requires immediate implementation. It’s as much a part of your health and vitality in July just as it is in January. Waiting until January 1st to start moving or cut sugar could be detrimental. Instead, just do it. Set a date if that helps you, but how about this Monday instead of January 1st? Do it. And stick with it. The good news? The gym is much less crowded the other 51 weeks of the year.

Like Crocs and Billy Ray Cyrus, resolutions are often rich in hype and poor in longevity. We don’t need more fads; we need life changes. And life changes take more than a holiday to happen. They require the long, slow, day-by-day, and often tedious nature of discipline. Year after year after year after …

Those who resolve in groups often quit in groups. I’m all for accountability, especially when making big life changes. It’s absolutely essential. Finding a partner or small group to commit with increases your chances of success. However, New Year’s resolutions made in frenzied mass also fizzle in a frenzied mass. A month from now many will putter and fade, and watching resolvers disappear will make it oh-so-tempting to do the same.

How do you feel about New Year’s resolutions? Any big ones you’d like to share with us?



  1. Melissa Taylor @imaginationsoup

    I’m with you. I am always setting goals / intentions throughout the year for forward movement in my life. Something about the once a year resolutions feels like setting myself up for failure. It doesn’t feel like authentic reflection and goal setting.

    • Michele

      Exactly. I don’t know if it’s the hype or commercialism, but for whatever reason New Year’s Resolutions seem to lack sticking power. I prefer to act on something at the moment I’m convicted. Otherwise it won’t happen.

  2. Alizabeth Rasmussen

    I’ve never been much of a New Year’s resolution person, but in 2011 I created a Success Covenant for the first time – basically, a contract with God that spells out what I’m asking for His help with/turning over to Him and what I’m committing to doing FOR Him. I updated it throughout the year and found it to be an incredibly powerful process. As long as I followed through on my action items (and I was far from perfect, but much better than I imagine I would’ve been without the Success Covenant), there was a sense that the rest was being handled, that I was being taken care of and guided. I’m doing the same thing for 2012 – it sustains me in a way that resolutions alone never have.

    Thanks for a great post!

    • Michele

      A covenant has a sacred quality that is not easily discarded. Great idea, Alizabeth.


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