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Why New Year’s resolutions are dumb and I don’t make them.


Happy New Year everybody! At the time of writing this it’s the 5th of January and many of us are back from our holidays in some instances a little heavier than when we left!  It’s also the time people address some of those new years resolutions that we’ve made. I’m sure your Facebook feeds over the past few days have been flooded with goals or quote posts, super imposed on some landscape. Maybe something like this:

Be at war with your vices, at peace with your neighbours, and let every new year find you a better man. 
– Benjamin Franklin


Here’s the thing; resolutions are great, self-improvement is great, but I don’t make New Years resolutions and this is why (with some retrospective research to back up my opinion):

According to the Journal of Clinical Psychology via psychologytoday.com.au. 50% of us make resolutions on December 31st, mostly based on things like weight loss, better money management, quitting smoking, etc. You’ve heard them before.

They usually fail because the goal is unspecific, unrealistic or, and this is what is most important to me, they are based on an emotional release rather than a system. Self-improvement is based on changing aspects of yourself, often fundamentally. So, why would you wait for an arbitrary date change to come about? Why do we fool ourselves into thinking that an arbitrary date change will help us make those changes?  

If you’re reading this later in the year, start right now. Might sound a little corny, but don’t wait until the start of the month, or after that big event you’relooking forward to/dreading. Self-improvement is always there for the taking.  So when you’re ready create a system for yourself.

What exactly do you want?  Why do you want it?   What steps do you need to put in place to achieve that goal? What are the likely causes of you relapsing or failing?  Address those failures. Be prepared for the fact that you will most likely fail at some point and prepare to get back up and try again. Create accountability for yourself. Finally, and my personal favourite, keep it to yourself. Announcing intentions often satisfies those intentions enough to lose track of the broader goal, according to Derek Sivers.

I wanted to post this now, while most of you are still in the early days of your resolutions in the hope that you do find your resolutions a success this year!

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