Why New Year’s resolutions dont work | Blogroll

December 14th, 2008

I have heard time and again from friends and acquaintances that New Year’s resolutions don’t work, so why bother?  These are the same people who plant their seeds (the resolutions), but don’t water, feed or make sure that it has adequate sunlight to grow and produce.

From my own observations, one of the biggest New Year’s resolutions made are usually have to do with weight loss or becoming more fit.  Its been noted that new new gym memberships spike during the month of January, but attendance usually drops by the end of February.  Why is this?    One problem is some people expect  instant weight loss or fitness results. When you plant a tomato seed, you cant expect to make marinara sauce the next day. Another is, people try to do to much too fast and burn out, then give up.  If you never planted a garden before, a good idea is to start with just a few, easy to grow plans then work your way up to a full garden.  Perhaps, they are not doing the right type of program for their body type and are  frustrated when they don’t see results. If you live in New England, don’t expect to be able to grow bananas. You have to find what you can grow in your region and what time of year you should plant it.

Over the past few years, I have had almost all of my resolutions fulfilled within the year.  The ones that didn’t “work out” were the ones I gave up on before I gave them a real chance.  Some resolutions may take more than a a few months or a year to fulfill so patience along with hard work will eventually get you there.

So how do you fulfill your goals?

First, you have to know what you want.  Do you want to go backpacking in Kashmir because your friends want to do it (or have done it), or because this is what you want to do?  Do you want to start a business because your buddies are working from home now and you’re still doing the 9-5 grind even though you’re happy with it?  Do you want to do something only because your parents expect that of you?

Marelisa’s Abundance Blog offers some really great tips in the article: Start 2009 With a Bang: Create a Life List.  This list will help you get a grasp of what you want and how to get there.

Blogger Newbie lists three steps to getting your goals accomplished in 3 Steps to Achieving Your Goals

Monika at The Writers Manifesto teaches you how to beat procrastination and get things done.

Common New Year’s Resolutions

Finances
Do you have a goal to save X amount of dollars a year or maximize your 401K, but not sure how to afford or even do it? No matter what you financial situation is, Get Rich Slowly blog is a must read that offers a ton of practical advice when it comes to  your money.  Articles such  as Making the Most of Your checking Account and Things Its Cheaper to do Yourself can point you in the right direction.  I can literally spend all-day reading some of the various articles (and comments) here.

Ramit at I Will Teach you to be Rich has a lot of money saving tips for those who are new to tightening their wallets.  Tip #1: Pack lunch for the rest of the week can make a great start for many.

Starting a business
Get Rich Slowly also has great advice on starting a business. The section on entrepreneurship is a must read for anyone contemplating that journey.

Steve at My Wife Quit Her Job runs an online wedding linen store with his wife.  Six figure salary aside, he is open and honest about their day-to-day challenges and rewards.  There is also a great deal of tips on how to start your own (specifically, online) business.

Fitness and weight management
Cranky Fitness offers a lot of good articles on diet and fitness.  Posts such as Why the Weight Loss Plateau?  can help you when you’re feeling stuck before you throw in the towel.

Cool Running’s Couch to 5K is one of the most popular and effective running programs out there.  Couch to 5K program gently guides you off the couch (office chair) and hitting the road to a 5K in a reasonable amount of time.  Remember, the key  is not to do to much to fast.

So the keys to successful fulfillment of your resolutions are knowing what you want and why, having the right tools to cultivate that resolution, and persistence – not giving up.

So what are your goals/resolutions for the coming year?

21 Responses to “Why New Year’s resolutions dont work | Blogroll”

  1. Marelisa says:

    Hi Carla: I agree that the first step in setting goals is making sure that the things on our list are things that we really want, and not something that someone else wants for us (read parents or spouse) or that we want to do just because it’s the in-thing to do. We have to ask ourselves: “Is this an authentic desire, do I really want this?” Thank you for the link :-)

    Marelisa’s last blog post..Five Stress-Busting Techniques for Busy People

  2. I agree that you have to know what YOU want, not what others want for you.

    It also helps to break down a big goal into smaller goals.

  3. Hi Carla,

    Thanks for the link love…

    What do you mean when you say “When you plant a tomato seed, you cant expect to make marinara sauce the next day”? You can’t?

    You have described me in detail here! I want it and I want it now. It doesn’t matter that it took me 2 months to let this extra 10 lbs sneak up on me, I want to lose it next week!

    Bob Conklin-one of my favorite philosophers said “if you really, really want it you will really, really get it”. Think about that one for a minute.

    great inspiring words!

    Dee Langdon – BloggerNewbie’s last blog post..Do All Parent’s Want A “Do Over”?

  4. Lance says:

    Hi Carla,
    In recent years, I haven’t been making New Year’s resolutions, per se. Instead, I’ve been focusing on goals I have for the year, and do this sometime in January (but not on the 1st). This year, I’m going with a new approach (one I’ll be writing about around Jan. 1) – where I’m going to come up with a “word of the year” – a word (or two) that will be my focal point for the year.
    2009 will be an awesome year Carla – for you and for me! And everyone who really commits to making it all that can be possible…

    Lance’s last blog post..Sunday Thought For The Day

  5. Joanna Young says:

    Carla, as someone who’s just starting to garden (and have some things I want to make happen in the garden next year!) thinking about resolutions through the analogy of gardening works for me – you need to be realistic, committed, to give it time… and to do the things that’ll make it work.

    Thanks for the food for thought.

    Joanna Young’s last blog post..How Do You Know When The Words Need to Go?

  6. Not sure that I necessarily have a new year’s resolution… I set goals for myself year ’round and set out to improve myself towards those goals. But you know what, now that I think about it…I am thinking about training for the Los Angeles Marathon this year around. I start training tomorrow… It’s not a weight-loss thing or anything like that. I just want to challenge myself to accomplish something like that. I used to love running before and thought it might be nice to get back to it.

    Ricardo Bueno’s last blog post..Failure Makes Us Stronger!

  7. greenandchic says:

    @Marelisa – You’re very welcome!

    @Vered – that is a really good idea. Breaking larger goals into smaller ones helps me with my business. It too easy to get lost in the big picture.

    @Dee – Great quote! I have to remember that for myself.

    @Lance – Thanks Lance! I feel that 2009 will be a better year as well. “Word of the year” – I like that.

    @Joanna – Good points.

    @Ricardo – That sounds really fun! I wish you the best of luck with the marathon.

  8. Jeremy Day says:

    Hi Carla,

    So true, so true. What can I write to encourage people to follow through? If only I could find the answer…

    Cheers,
    Jeremy

    Jeremy Day’s last blog post..Health Week: The Best Morning Exercise Routine

  9. Hi

    Thank you for providing so many useful resources.
    I think it is great that you mention finding goals that are YOURS and not OTHERS’ expectations.
    That can be such a difficult task. One thing that helps is looking to values and even those can be blurred by outside influences.

    Juliet

    Juliet – LifeMadeGreat’s last blog post..What To Do When Someone Is Unpleasant Towards You

  10. I don’t set New Years Resolutions. I have some things I want to accomplish but if I want to do specific things, like lose weight, I will start now rather than wait for a specific date.

    Kim Woodbridge’s last blog post..Twitter Holiday Contest – Win a Free 2.7 Upgrade

  11. greenandchic says:

    @Jeremy – I wish I knew too, but its ultimately up to them.

    @Juliet – Thanks! I’m glad you enjoyed it.

    @Kim – When I decide I want to do something or make changes – I start *now* (like starting a business) but for me the new year is also a chance for me to really evaluate my life and what I want to get out of the next 365 days.

  12. Bellesouth says:

    My goals include:

    - have less clutter in the home.

    - be on top of my game financially.

    - make more good friends.

    Bellesouth’s last blog post..Sixteen, beautiful, and yours

  13. Patricia says:

    Nice post and good ideas, I too liked the garden analogy so much because it hit home. My honey planted a huge garden like his parents always had and then had no time to care for it or harvest it, so that task fell to the children and me – for years I did all the work, now I say what I will do, because it helps our food budget and we can get organic, and what I will not do and we alternate rows of flowers and vegetables where we can, because of my love of flowers…but it took about 25 years for us to find a compromise that worked for both of us and fed us well too…this year we could laugh when the deer ate all the bean and the pumpkins, we just knew it was our contribution.

    I set my plans for 2009 last year and I revise them all the time…so my resolutions fit into my goals and mapping of the outcomes and steps to process.

    I would rather revise then have a stack of failure because I could not organize or follow through.

    Thank you for sharing

    Patricia’s last blog post..Waiting

  14. Hi Carla,

    I tend to agree. What’s the point if you can’t follow through? For me, if I have the drive to do something, it usually gets done. It doesn’t matter what time of the year it is. The hard part for me is finding the right balance of over doing it versus doing too little. Good luck on your move!

    Steve C @ MyWifeQuitHerJob.com’s last blog post..How These Businesses Made Me A Customer For Life

  15. Sagan says:

    This is some good advice (and great links). I don’t make resolutions at this time of year because I feel as though if I made them I’d be making them because I feel obligated to because we’re “supposed” to. Instead, I make goals and resolutions throughout the year whenever I feel ready and capable to do so. That way I know that I’m going to follow through with them (and I won’t feel as though I’m setting myself up for failure- which unfortunately always seems to be the way with New Years resolutions…)

  16. wilson says:

    Fortunately, my 2008′s new year resolution did work for me, althought it’s not 100% (Well, at least I got the 80% here) and I will come out with another new year resolution for year 2009.

    Good luck for your resolution, Carla ;)

    wilson’s last blog post..Don’t Soak The Kelp in Hot Water!

  17. Missy says:

    I personally don’t make resolutions. Rather sometime, whenever I finally get tired of whatever it is I want to change, I get at it.

    I do think that it is our expectations that get in the way. We are a “need it or want it now” society. Patience is no longer a virtue. I’m not sure if anyone knows what a virtue is anymore.
    My thought is people are more willing to accept something as it is if it is harder to change. In my work (I’m a massage therapist) most of my clients get discouraged after a few weeks of treatment and give up, accepting their moderate discomfort. It is not something that needs to be dealt with. A little work, stretches and changing things around the home and most people can get better. But many of them choose not to do the work.

    Missy’s last blog post..Olive oil is not just for cooking

  18. emma james says:

    Thank you for this post – I love anyone who acknowledges the absurdity of the hoopla around New Years Resolutions.

    I agree with both you and Missy, above. If you approach NYRs like the newest fad diet (frequently one and the same), you’re still in Santa mode (ie. you are wanting magic results). But if you see the beginning of the year as simply a time to pause and reflect, because you have a few days off and therefore enough moments in the day to breathe, and discover there are real things you are wanting to (and, more importantly, WILLING to) change, then change is much more likely. At least that’s what’s worked for me. I’ve also found this approach can be applied at any time of year, and that if my only expectation is CHANGE, as opposed to HOW MUCH CHANGE, I’m less likely to get discouraged.

    This year’s resolution is to try to stay where my feet are, and let that space be friggin fantastic. But now you’ve given me some additional ideas…

    emma james’s last blog post..2008: Most Pleasurables

  19. Natural says:

    i don’t plan to make any new year’s resolutions myself. i have goals i need to work on and plan to work on all year round..although the new year makes it seem like a fresh start..it’s going to take more than that, which is why many of them fail. the goals are not really long term and done with the right motivation. it’s better to try though than not.

    Natural’s last blog post..You’re So Vain You Probably Think This Post Is About You

  20. Daphne says:

    Hi Carla,

    What a timely post! I used to not bother about resolutions because they didn’t work for me. In the past few years though, I’ve been able to achieve what I wanted to by focusing on three simple things a year, much like what Bellsouth wrote in her comment.

    Also, many people focus on what they feel they ought to do (like lose weight) and there’s no inherent motivation to keep going. I find that when I focus on what’s really really important to me, it’s easy to obsess about it all year. And what you think about all the time, you make into reality.

    Daphne’s last blog post..A Season To Celebrate

  21. greenandchic says:

    @Bellesouth – Great goals! I am always working on having less clutter.

    @Patricia – I am constantly revising my goals. For me it’s the only way to get ahead.

    @Steve C – Thanks! I have a difficult time with balance too. I tend to fall into one of the extremes.

    @Sagan – I tend to do a little of both: setting goals throughout the year and setting new goals at the beginning of the year.

    @Wilson – 80% is pretty good!

    @Missy – Instant gratification is definitely a killer. The national debt is a good indication.

    @Emma James – I agree that is too lip service and not enough actual work when it comes to setting NYR.

    @Daphne – Trying not to do too much is essential as well – I agree. I like to have one big goal and a few smaller ones to keep from getting overwhelmed.

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