Why New Year’s Resolutions don’t work.

As 2018 comes to an end, and the new year quickly approaches – the season of self-reflection has begun. This time of year, we are bombarded with messages that beg us to look inside ourselves and ask– who am I?  and who will I become in the upcoming year? The truth is, these “simple” questions, are not so simple to answer. These are loaded questions, and most of us have no idea where we will end up, 365 days from now.  Around this time of year, we are inspired to make changes in our lives. So, what is the easiest way to market these changes? – NEW YEARS RESOLUTIONS!

Only you have the power to make changes in your life, whether it be your job, your lifestyle, eating habits, exercise routines, mental wellness or even your social circle. Nobody is going to make these changes for you, and, if this is something that you truly wish to achieve, every decision you make should work towards these goals. Now sometimes, this is a lot easier said, than done. For me, having a plan to achieve these goals – is just as important as having the goal itself. What is vision, without execution? That being said, it can be really hard to figure what you want to achieve and even harder to stay positive, when things don’t go as planned. That is why, I have never been a fan of New Year’s Resolutions. Yes, if you want to make changes in the upcoming year, I encourage you to take that leap. But, for me, the idea of a “resolution” is a loaded title, filled with pressure to succeed. As we change in the upcoming year, our needs and wants change too. Sometimes you discover things, you never knew you wanted. By having this fixed idea of what it means to be the best version of yourself, you limit yourself from seeing what you really want. You take away the self-discovery. 

Not leaving yourself room to grow and adapt, is just a recipe for failure. Think about it, how many of you start the year with a resolution, only to find yourself feeling like crap, when you haven’t completed it? I know it has happened to me. But is this really my fault? Or was the idea of a “resolution” flawed from the start? I ask myself this question all the time. As a particularly motivated individual, I hate starting something that I can’t finish. I believe that the most sustainable changes, happen gradually. It is equally important during the journey, to reflect on these goals and how you plan to achieve them. Is this working for you? Are there other ways to meet your goals? Is this something that you still want? Or do you just feel obligated? Acknowledging these questions, does not make you lazy or weak, it just means that you are aware of your own needs.

A couple of friends and I were talking about self-improvement and productivity before the winter break. Abby said something that really stuck with me. She said, we can’t hate ourselves, for not fulfilling our goals. We have to recognize our own humanity and the fact that there will be days, when the stress may be too much. We have to support each other and understand that some days are more difficult for others. These changes are not to force ourselves to live a constricting lifestyle, but instead to enhance our productivity and promote a lifestyle, where we can be happy with ourselves and our efforts. Ultimately, it is all about balance, and recognizing that you are doing what you can to make yourself better. One step at a time.  That being said, you have to recognize that it is okay to have off days. You are not going to be perfect, 100% of the time. But, there is beauty in the chaos. Sometimes people are brought into your life and you could never anticipate the impact that they have had. But having the courage to accept these changes, is what will make you grow as an individual and help you succeed in whatever you chose to do in the upcoming year. 

New Year’s Resolutions are simply unrealistic. Why do we insist on trying to force ourselves to fit a specific mold? Resolutions are about what you think you should do. Instead, it is important to focus your energy into what you really want to do . If you have absolutely no clue what you want – even better! This is the time in your life to experiment! Why limit yourself to trying one or two new things? I challenge you to push your own limits in the upcoming year. Find out what you love and role with that! Finally, don’t forget to enjoy the process. I know for me personally, some of the most valuable things that I have learned about myself, have come from the journey. The very nature of a resolution is to make you look at what is next, never what you have right now – and sometimes that can be dangerous. The real gold is in the experience, not the end result.

Finally, I want to leave you with an exert from the book I am currently reading, “A year changes so much. One year later and I still don’t recognize my own reflection. A year later and things will never be the same, but maybe that is a good thing. There is strength and beauty in the unknown, enjoy it.” 

Happy holidays and best of luck!

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