Title Card - Why I Don't Make New Year's Resolutions

Why I Don’t Make New Year’s Resolutions

I feel like I have been doing this a lot lately, but here we go! This article is definitely not suggesting that you shouldn’t make New Year’s Resolutions if it is something you enjoy or find helpful to you. Rather, this is a documentation of my personal experience instead of a suggestion of what you should and should not do. Got it? Great!

Everyone is familiar with the concept of the New Year’s Resolution. New year, new you, time to make improvements and make this coming year better than the last. Make some plans and work towards them, goals that are designed to make you better.

I have tried doing resolutions in the past, including on numerous occasions when my teachers in grade school would assign this as a writing exercise for the class. Most of the time, the goals I would mention would always feel so superfluous, like the things you say when you don’t know what to say. They were always less about the resolution itself and more about the assignment, never really amounting to much and easily forgettable.

Did I ever complete my resolutions? It’s hard to say, but I’m sure I accomplished a fair number of them just by the low bar I either set for myself or that they were things I expected to accomplish anyway. By the time the year rolled to a close, I never remembered what I had actually set for myself in the previous December or January, they had since long evaporated from my mind as inconsequential, unimportant.

Issues like this aside, I never actually liked or grew attached to the idea of resolutions and feeling obligated to complete them. A lot can happen in a year and your goals will change as circumstances evolve. Did you have a resolution to accomplish something in your current job? The new job made that one feel pretty insignificant. Have a goal of working towards buying a car? The new apartment that’s super close to work meant you didn’t need one.

Now again, that’s not to say that you couldn’t accommodate or adjust these goals to suit your new path, like applying the old work goal to the workplace, or saying you accomplished your car goal by making a different big purchase that made the car goal obsolete. But this is the crux of the problem. The goals you set for yourself at the beginning of the year are far more likely to change than remain constant, and it’s for this reason that I largely dislike making them. There’s no way to know for sure where you will be in a year, and holding yourself to that standard does a disservice to your constantly evolving situation. I like to be reactive, quick, seizing the opportunities that come my way as they come to me, feeling accomplished in the work that I had done not because I was predestined to do so, but because I felt it was right in the moment.

I also dislike the idea that if you don’t accomplish your resolutions, you’re some kind of failure for not reaching them. This is a very toxic mentality that does you no good whatsoever. If you do decide to make resolutions, they should be more like guidelines than hard and fast rules, able to evolve as needed to fit and make sense for your current situation.

For me? Of course I make and set goals, but I just don’t see the purpose of making them at a very specific time and hold myself accountable to these rigidly for an entire year. I prefer to let my goals be fluid, and to make new goals as they are needed throughout the year.

What about you? Do you set New Year’s Resolutions, and are they serious or more of fun at the time? How do you measure personal success?