Why I’m Not making New Year’s resolutions and why you shouldn’t either.

The dust from the holidays is starting to settle; it’s that time of year again.

Reflecting to become a “better” version of yourself isn’t inherently bad. However, resolving to become a better version of yourself based on an arbitrary date is not so good. Personally, I’d vote for an execution of the New Year’s resolution.

But why am I so against them?

I belong to the train of thought of consistent, healthy reflection. To regularly reflect on ways to help you enjoy your life more is a fantastic habit. For me, that can be eating more fruits and vegetables, practicing yoga every morning, meditating every night, etc. Set goals, reflect, repeat. The key is that this is a year round practice, not solely the solemn shift from one segment of time to the successive.

I’m a firm believer in setting specific goals; however, I don’t think goals should only be thought about at the beginning of a new year just to trail off into the sunset within a few months. But rather, a steadfast, slow burn to the candle of life and enjoyment. 🙂

To add some levity, what works for you works for you. Frankly, not even all goals have to be specific. What’s your take on this topic?

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My personal blog can be found here.

61 thoughts on “Why I’m Not making New Year’s resolutions and why you shouldn’t either.

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  1. My take is that New Year’s resolutions are a way of avoiding living in the present.

    They allow you to put off making the change you need until a future date. Once made, there is a long tradition of failing at New Year’s resolutions that makes it easier to quit. If you really wanted to stop smoking, lose weight, travel the world, you’d do it right now. As Bono wrote in his hit song for U2, “Nothing changes on New Year’s day.”

    My take on New Year’s’ Day is that it is a time of reflection on the past, contemplation about the present, and anticipation of the future. It is a holiday to feel the inexorability of time, to revel in the truth of our impermanence, and to flip the bird at the fickle finger of fate. Tried to catch that feeling on my own New Year’s post.

    The Moving Finger writes; and, having writ,
    Moves on: nor all thy Piety nor Wit
    Shall lure it back to cancel half a Line,
    Nor all thy Tears wash out a Word of it.

    Honest introspection is never going to be popular, I guess. (Drunken revelry is more popular. It has it’s place.) But with the pandemic going on, perhaps this time we’ll see more of it.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hey Fred, I apologize as I try to reply to all my comments and this one must’ve slipped through the cracks! Anyways, I love the phrase you wrote, “the truth of our impermanence.” Really makes me pause for a moment. I do think that’s what New Years is all about, reflection, celebration, anticipation. Hope you’re enjoying the start of the new year 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Happy New Year to you and to all your readers!

    I agree with you regarding resolutions, I had found they actually contributed to increasing anxiety and that led to more depression later when I struggled with very negative self-talk because of another perceived failure!

    I too practice being mindful about my life on a daily rhythm, so there is less stress and anxiety, but each day offers a new opportunity!

    My goal for this year is to continue writing blog posts and books which are uplifting, supportive and help to develop skills for a more successful and happier life!

    May we take the lemons 2020 gave us and make something awesome with them! There’s always a positive side to life’s negatives!

    Blessings!
    Tamara

    https://tamarakulish.com/

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hey Tamara! I apologize as I try to respond to all my comments and yours must’ve slipped through the cracks. Regardless, I too struggle with negative self talk if I’m not meeting my goals and self expectations. I’ve found much more contentment when it wasn’t a goal I set for myself, but rather a lifestyle. I accepted the process, the inevitable ups and downs, and saw more progress than I ever had. I hope you are enjoying these first couple weeks of the new year and have made progress on writing your books! Cheers, Ellen ❤

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Lol! No problem Ellen! I totally understand slipping through the cracks!!

        I’ve found I do much better when I speak to myself kindly and gently! I’ve reproached myself far too much in my life and spoke harshly to myself when I didn’t meet my self expectations. That only led to deepening my anxiety and depression. Once I changed how I spoke to myself I found my outlook changed dramatically and I was actually more productive because I wasn’t stopping working on my goals out of despair! Yes, I’m happy with what I’ve accomplished and today I got the ball rolling for the audiobook of my newest book! So, yay!!

        Peace to you! It seems you have found a wonderful solution! 🥰🌸🌸🌸

        Liked by 1 person

      2. That’s so awesome, kudos to you for getting more progress done! I’d really love to learn more about how to speak to yourself kindly and gently, I agree I should do this more too, but putting it into practice is a bit harder. Might you have an article or blog about that?

        Liked by 1 person

      3. I do! I kind of pepper it throughout my blogs! An important step is to practice suspending judgment of yourself! Our negative thoughts have created neural pathways which have become wide and deep, they’ve become a natural go-to, a shortcut. By suspending judgment we start to change our inner wiring in our brains. Next we start to speak kind things to ourselves, like words of encouragement. It won’t feel natural at first because our brains have been on one track for so long! It takes practice and perseverance to feel comfortable and at ease with it! Blessings!

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  3. I agree with your analysis of new year’s resolutions, EL. Also, the situation right now is very unpredictable. I want to remain FLEXIBLE, so I have formulated some “good intentions” instead of resolutions. Basically, I plan to continue reducing unused possessions and streamlining my routines to further SIMPLIFY my life. I have a list of priorities and want to manage my time to accomplish these priorities. In other words, BALANCE. Time will tell if this approach works for me. All the best for 2021! 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Hi Cheryl, I really like your use of the phrase “good intentions”… how clever! It really resonates with me because behind all of my goals are good intentions, and yet should be flexible since these are such unpredictable times. Thank you for sharing:) Balance is definitely key!! Happy 2021 ***

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  4. To paraphrase some good advice I recently received…
    Stay in the lane where you are successful- drive forward from there.
    Work on what’s going well. Don’t work hard to eliminate the negative – that will take care of itself if you continue to work on the good in your life.
    Love and Light to you !!!💛✨💛✨

    Liked by 4 people

    1. I love that quote, and thank you for sharing it! Focusing on the good this past week has really helped to eliminate all the made up (some not made up) “bad” I had been focusing on before. Looking forward to more of this in 2021! Love you!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I couldn’t agree more, funny because my last “New Year’s Resolution” was 2016, it was to never make another resolution again, if you really want a change do it right now not next year.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hi Rushi, I love that and I completely agree. Upon reflection I made changes right then or very soon, not waiting for an arbitrary date like the new year or on Monday at the start of a week to change something. Life is too short for that! Thanks for sharing 🙂 <3E

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Agreed! And making a resolution to yourself and not sticking to it really damages your self-respect and self image which I think we can easily overlook but we shouldn’t. Thanks for reading and best wishes for 2021! <3E

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I agree with you, hun. And instead of New Year’s Resolution, how about we change it to New Year’s Intention? Like setting intentions out in the world with no attachment of whether or not we achieve it because we focus on the daily, small routine you mentioned that would get us there, with no date or timeline whatsoever. Loved this. Happy new year!!!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Hey Apple Rae, I love that idea of New Year’s Intentions. It has a much more positive connotation. I struggle with negative self talk when I’m not succeeding with my goals I expected to, but it really is just about the intention. The journey rather than the destination. Your compliments are so kind, thank you for reading! Best, <3E

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  7. Couldn’t have said it any better Ellen – you echo my thoughts. Not that now isn’t the right time – but that now is always the right time. Year round practise is the way to go. Happy New Year!

    Liked by 2 people

  8. I agree that goals should be set year round, however, selecting a New Year’s resolution can help motivate some people.

    With the concept of a New Year comes changes for the better. It’s a good way to think for those who can stick with it.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. I completely agree .Actually, reflecting on myself time to time is more powerful and effective for me.I reviewed my journal of 2020 for few days and it gave so much clarity and understanding of my habits and patterns and clarity on which areas i need to work more.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. That sounds very interesting! Were you reviewing your journal entries of goals you wished to complete, or like you mentioned just reflections? I review my journal entries from time to time and it usually leaves me in shock how much I’ve grown/seen/evolved over the past year or even few months. Thanks for the reminder to keep doing this 🙂 <3E

      Liked by 1 person

  10. I couldn’t agree more. Setting goals should be done all through the year. Also, I think the wording “Resolutions” can mess us up. If I hear the word “Goals” instead of “New Year’s Resolutions,” I’m more likely to get it done. Funny how that works!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Happy New Year! I think Jan 1 is a good time to leverage the momentum of starting a new goal but it really should be done one at a time with some accountability and support built in. And it’s not the ONLY time you can have momentum toward a goal: start of the week, month, birthday, season etc there’s a flow to life that will help us out if we simply listen.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Agreed! There’s no one best time to start a goal, it can be after breakfast, on a Thursday, etc., but the important part is the motivation and accountability comes from within. Thank you for your thoughts!

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Hi there,

    Thanks for the blog – will also check out your personal site!

    I really like the “Set goals, reflect, repeat” mantra – I am good at thinking up goals, but not so good at following them up, so maybe a tad more reflection might be what I need…

    Incidentally, I had an email recently from my – now sadly online only – yoga teacher, who mentioned that she sets her goals at the time of the Spring Equinox (March 20th this year).

    It seems to me that this is a much more sensible time to start doing something potentially difficult than cold, depressing, January, when we’re all fed up already at having to go back to work and probably carrying some extra pounds from Christmas. Easier to go out and exercise, probably easier to eat more healthily, and maybe easier to stick to something difficult if you can look around and see Spring bursting out all around you…?

    Liked by 1 person

  13. I don’t believe in ‘special days’. It’s not like you have to take a resolution only on New year. The day you decide to change yourself or become even better is the first day of a new life. It’s not necessary to start this new life only on the 1st day of a new year. I believe that this concept was invented by lazy people so that they can have an excuse to delay changing themselves till the next new year by giving a pathetic excuse of starting something ‘auspiciously’.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. I was procrastinating so much since New Year Eve on how my resolutions should look like for 2021. Not that I am rigid that a New Year is incomplete without resolutions. Reflections happen every other day and keeping track on top goals as checklist is handy. Anyway, because there is no ground for certainties this year, it makes everything a lot more complicated. Therefore, will take 2021 as it comes instead.

    Like

  15. I agree. Being kind to ourselves by making good decisions for our wellbeing and pragmatic choices to achieve what we want, are processes of ongoing improvement. Every day is an opportunity to reflect on how we did, and tweak our process so we can be a little bit closer to where we want to be when we wake up the next morning.

    The way you’ve described New Years resolutions reminds me of how some people treat Valentines day. It is the time of year they are reminded to treat their other half in a special way. Though I have not been in a committed relationship for long enough to speak from experience, I feel every day is an opportunity to show the person you love that they are special, and to do it because you love them not just because it’s February 14th. When I find that someone special I hope I will make the effort every day to tell them.

    Thank you for sharing and starting a pragmatic discussion about self care. I pray you go well into your week. 🧡

    Like

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