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Six reasons I don’t make New Year’s resolutions

Today’s prompt on The Blended Blog asked about whether or not people make resolutions and what they are. I wrote about it very briefly during last week’s linkup, but I thought I would talk more about why resolutions don’t work for me.

Black and white clock face with black writing in foreground that says six reasons why I don't make New Year's Resolutions

Reason 1 – I have an all or nothing mentality

If I break a resolution, I don’t just brush myself off and carry on. I figure that everything is already shot and veer way, way into the other direction. For example, if I say I’m not going to eat dessert at night, and then somehow one night I find that I’ve had a little dessert, that will turn into me eating every single dessert type item that we have in our house. I’m working on having more balance and less all or nothingness, but this is the biggest reason I no longer make resolutions.

Reason 2 – If I say I’m going to deprive myself of something, then that’s all I want

I’m sure other people can relate, but let’s use the dessert example again for those who may not follow. If I say, “Amber, you can have dessert whenever you want to,” then I may eat it a few nights in a row, and then not eat anything sweet at night for a couple of weeks. However, If I say, “Amber, no more desserts for you,” then guess what dominates my thinking and is the only thing I can focus on? Hmm, I think I’m starting to figure out why I’ve been not-so-successful during my three Whole 30 attempts.

Reason 3 – I try to change too many things at once

Instead of making a couple of resolutions to change some sustainable things, my resolutions list usually looks like a lifetime wish list – lose x amount of weight, save ten million dollars, don’t eat any dessert, eat twelve servings of vegetables and drink seven gallons of water a day, walk six miles before breakfast, get up early and meditate, don’t lose my temper with my family, be on time to everything (uh, maybe that one isn’t so bad)…and the list goes on and on. I read an article that said there are people that do all of these things, but they had to work up to it. They had one habit in place before they worked on the next one. That seems so simple yet so obvious!

Reason 4 – I get upset if I don’t start everything exactly the right way on January 1

I’m very literal sometimes, so if I don’t start all of my resolutions on January 1 and have 100% success that day, then I feel like everything has been wasted (see the all or nothing mentality explanation above). The truth is, January 1 is still kind of the holiday season. Most of us are off work still, and if you went to a New Year’s Eve party like we did, then you’ll probably be dragging butt on the first. Not the best time to decide to get up at 5:30 AM for some meditation and six miles of walking! I’m a sucker for the concept of a fresh start at the beginning of a new year, but January 1 just doesn’t work out for me sometimes!

Reason 5 – I never give my resolutions any action plans

My resolutions are usually just a list of behaviors that I want to try to improve without any actions or goals attached to them. Sure, they look great on paper, but there is no way to accomplish them if I don’t have any kind of plan, especially for the days when I’m tired, things don’t start the way I want them to, I don’t feel well, or any of the other things interfere that cause me to get off track. Since I don’t set goals, I don’t have accountability to myself or my resolutions, so it’s easy to let them fade away sometimes around mid-January.

Reason 6 – I beat myself up when – not if – I fail

I’m going to fail. It’s inevitable. I don’t say that to be negative, but there are going to be setbacks and failures along the path of achieving success in any area. Instead of taking that into account, if I fail at a resolution, then I automatically think I’m a failure in many other areas (bet you didn’t know you were going to learn this much about me in this post…). If I make goals instead of grand, sweeping resolutions and declarations, then I can account for those times when things might not go my way. I can have a plan for when I get off track, and I can pick things up instead of jumping ship.

Do you make resolutions? If so, what has helped you to be successful in keeping them? Also, if you have any goal-setting tips or resources, I would love to hear them!

Linking up with The Blended Blog

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  1. Yes, yes, yes! I am an all or nothing kind of girl too! And I’m bad about trying to change too much at once as well. I have general ideas every year of things I’d like to do, but if it doesn’t happen I’m not upset.

    • I’ve got to learn to celebrate what I accomplish instead of getting upset about what I don’t achieve. My husband has said that to me for the last 4.5 years, but I don’t want to admit to him that he’s right!

    • Daunting is a good word! It’s like there’s so much pressure when it’s a resolution, but a goal seems so much more straightforward and doable!

  2. Your reasoning against making resolutions is sound, and I totally get it. I never beat myself up too hard when when I don’t lose weight and quit working out! But I like the idea of a clean slate in January (I like to start on January 1, too), and trying to improve myself. So I made wellness goals this year. Will see how I fare!


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