Why I Don't Make New Year's Resolutions

Making a New Year’s Resolution is admirable: it’s an indication that you strive for self-improvement. It’s noble to want to be more charitable, to become physically fit, to quit smoking, or to make one of thousands of different changes that can make you happier and stronger.

Yet while a majority of people make these resolutions, only about 14% of women and 22% of men keep their resolutions. Another study says that number is even lower.

Why do so many people fail? Yes, part of it is the simple fact that many of these goals (especially losing weight) are very difficult to accomplish, things that only those with seriously long-lasting willpower ever accomplish. However, there is another reason why people fail: New Year’s Resolutions put you in the wrong mindset.

A New Year’s Resolution tends to begin on the New Year – you set a specific time and date to begin. That’s the first problem: you’ve already procrastinated by setting a future date. If you really intend to change something and it’s that important to you, you shouldn’t wait even an extra week to begin changing yourself for the better. New Year’s Resolutions promote procrastination from the start, which almost always sets you up for failure.

The other problem with New Year’s Resolutions: they treat lifestyle changes as specific events with start times and end times. For anyone who has lost weight and kept it off, they know that there is never an end time to a lifestyle change: it’s a permanent change you keep up forever. I dropped 40 pounds (204 to 164) years ago, but once I hit 164, I didn’t just revert to my old habits. If I had, I’d have gained the weight right back.

I’m not saying don’t make a New Year’s Resolution or resolve to change yourself. What I am saying is that you must treat any change you make for the better as a lifestyle change, something that will become a permanent part of your life. If you can’t commit to permanent change, then you have a problem.

And stop procrastinating; just start now.