4 Reasons Why I Hate Making New Year’s Resolutions — And What You Can Do Instead

New Year’s Resolutions. Bleh. The thought of making New Year’s Resolutions year after year sends my skin crawling. I look with trepidation at the day on the calendar. It’s fast approaching. It will be here before I know it. Out of the 31 years I’ve been alive on this Earth, I’ve made New Year’s Resolutions less than 5 times. The few times I have, they were promptly tossed into the gutter, quickly forgotten amidst the party streamers and excited cackling countdowns. The times I haven’t, I watched the clock tick past midnight on New Year’s Day with a disappointing feeling in the pits of my stomach.

It’s not that I hate making New Year’s Resolutions. It is the fact that the very act is centered around holiday rituals that never get fulfilled. It is centered around promises that we make to ourselves. But what is a promise when it is made because of societal or personal expectations? What is a promise when there is a 80% chance of failure? What is a promise when it is made in the heat of the moment? And finally, what is a promise when it is mere words uttered at the close of the old with no plan or execution in place?

I am here to tell you the 4 reasons why I won’t be making New Year’s Resolutions this year. I am all for holiday traditions, but this is one ritual that can be quickly scrapped alongside the rest of this godawful excuse of a year. These are the 4 reasons why I hate making New Year’s Resolutions, why you should forgo this tradition — and even more importantly, what you can do instead.

4 Reasons Why I Hate Making New Year’s Resolutions

4 Reasons Why I Hate Making New Year’s Resolutions

  • They are disappointing
  • They make me feel bad
  • They are harder to stick
  • They are annoying

Making New Year’s Resolutions is a holiday tradition that sets me up for disappointment. In the past every December, I would sit down with pen and paper. I would write down the numbers 1, 2, 3, leaving empty spaces by each of these numbers. I would then chew on my pencil (that’s just an expression), thinking. In the end, I would write down goals such as “do better in school” or “exercise more.”

None of that came to friction because:

They are disappointing

I was never able to accomplish my New Year’s resolutions, leaving me with feelings of sadness and disappointment.

They make me feel bad

Not accomplishing my goals left me with a reduced self-esteem. I see people today on social media posting about the things that they’ve accomplished off of their New Year’s Resolutions list. And then, there was me with nothing to show for it expect for that list. I was left with nothing but my resolutions list and bad feelings that crept up inside.

A young biracial woman sitting on the ground, back to a tree, looking sad.
Photo by Caique Silva on Pexels.com

They are harder to stick

New Year’s Resolutions are goals that we make for the entire year. How on Earth can we set goals for an entire year? A year is a long time. We don’t know where we would be a year from now.

They are annoying

To be frank, it is really annoying to read about people making New Year’s Resolutions. Instead of acting as a motivator, they are little reminders of the failure that is all too real. They hang over us for the entire year, constantly reminding us that we failed to meet our goals. This failure leads to us thinking that the year was a complete waste. We then start thinking about the what if’s and try to change the past. And there’s no good to come out of changing the past. That is just a scary road down pessimism and depression.

21 post-its  with motivating ideas are pinned to a bulletin board
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What You Can Do Instead

  • Make realistic goals
  • Make short-term goals
  • Create a plan of action

Instead of making New Year’s Resolutions, do these three things. Also, keep scrolling down for a freebie as a holiday gift from me to you.

A blank to do list lies on an open planner
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Make realistic goals

I think the problem with New Year’s Resolutions is that people set goals that are too lofty or not specific enough. When you ask people what their New Year’s Resolutions are, you get the same cycle of answers: lose weight, eat healthier, and be a better parent. These are all good and done, but what exactly do they mean by eat healthier? Healthier than what? What do you hope to change about your parenting skills? How much weight do you want to lose?

So, I think the first step in setting effective New Year’s Resolutions is to make realistic goals that are specific. If the goals are too broad, then they become just words on a page. They become a lofty goal that seems totally unreachable. Instead of saying lose weight, change it to I hope to lose 5 pounds in three months.. This not only gives you a specific end goal, but the length of time you hope to accomplish the goal. By having a destination in mind, you will be more motivated to achieve your goals. Also, 5 pounds definitely sounds less daunting and scary than to just tell yourself to lose weight, which sounds more like a criticism and hardly conducive to positive thinking.

Make short-term goals

Another problem with setting New Year’s Resolutions is that these goals are long term. I think they would be more effective if we set a series of short-term goals throughout the year. I suggest that you set monthly or weekly goals. One thing I like about setting short-term goals is that you get to the finish line faster, keeping your motivation up and running. Another thing I like about making short-term goals is that you get a higher feeling of success as you knock out goal after goal. There is nothing tiring than working for weeks —months, years even — at a goal with no end in sight.

A close up of the Prague Astronomical Clock
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You can still say that you plan to lose weight as your New Year’s resolution. But instead of leaving it at that, set smaller goals. For example, tell yourself that you plan to lose 5 pounds in three months by March. And then, once that goal is reached in March, tell yourself that you will lose another 5 pounds over the next 3 months (April – July). At the end of each of these 3 month increments, be sure to reward yourself with an activity or snack that you enjoy. Also, if you don’t achieve the smaller goal at the designated time, be sure not to be too hard on yourself. Remember that the fact that you are doing what you need to do to succeed is a cause for celebration. You will get to the destination at your own pace.

Create a plan of action

This was briefly mentioned above, but I thought I would give this its own separate category. Once your make your New Year’s Resolutions, then make a plan. Write down, or record, what and how you plan to achieve your goals. By making a plan, you help to bring yourself closer and closer to achieving them. Break them down into manageable chunks so that you are more likely to achieve them.

Before the start of every month, write down what you plan to do weekly, or even daily. Do at least one thing a week, or day, that brings you closer to achieving your goal. This will help you feel more accomplished, as you see the finish line in sight. How extensive or detailed you write down your plan is completely up to you. I suggest that you write in such a way that feels good to you.

Below I am going to attach a freebie that you can get delivered to your email. By subscribing your email address at Crispy Confessions (don’t worry I don’t give out your email address), you will receive free downloadable spreadsheets that you can use monthly, weekly, even daily to help you stay on track at achieving your New Year’s Resolutions. Besides that, I will also include some free inspirational and motivational quotes and reminders to reward yourself, because everyone deserves a little helping hand as well as something sweet to push them along the path toward success.

Just because 2020 was an awful year doesn’t mean that 2021 has to be the same. Let’s make 2021 a wonderful year!

The words "Make This Day Great!" illuminated on a board
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Hi! I'm Helen and I am a 32 year old biracial millennial mom raising two multiracial children. I am a writer, English consultant, and social media manager. I am a self-proclaimed chocoholic.

20 thoughts on “4 Reasons Why I Hate Making New Year’s Resolutions — And What You Can Do Instead

  1. Very honest post!! I think I have tried to make new resolutions two times but I don’t like it anymore, I hate that disappointment I felt after the end of those years. So my favorite resolution for every new year is to stay healthy and happy with my family 😊

  2. I completely agree with you Helen! I don’t see the point of saying that you’re going to make a change at a certain time/holiday. If you want to make a change there’s no time like the present! There’s no need or reason to put off until a certain date.

  3. πŸ‘πŸΎπŸ‘πŸΎπŸ‘πŸΎ we are on the very same page with this one! I personally cannot stick with resolutions so I make dumb ones .. like β€œI will live each day of the year” when people ask me what mine are. πŸ˜‚

    1. Yes same here!! I think one reason for that is because we see a lot of the genetic and boring resolutions being made and so we tend to follow suit. Or people just aren’t thinking deeply enough. It’s just a tradition and so they pass it over by saying something vague that they want to improve about their lives.

  4. I totally agree! I hate new year’s resolutions. Having smaller, bite-size goals with a specific plan is the way to go.

    All the best, Michelle (michellesclutterbox.com)

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