Why I Still Make New Year’s Resolutions

According to the University of Scranton, a mere 8% of people achieve their New Year’s resolutions.  Nearly 50% of Americans make New Year’s resolutions each year. If one were to Google search, “New Year’s resolutions 2015” approximately 179 million search results would be found offering a diverse blend of ‘how to keep your resolutions’ advice.

I could have written this article a year ago, even a year before that, or a decade before then and still used the same exact opening, nothing changing but the digits of the year.

Sadly, I would be among the same crowd reading this article posted, year after year, as if it were a fresh, new concept. I would float out of one year and into the next determined to be in the 8%, only to end up among the masses that don’t achieve their New Year’s resolutions. Sadder yet, is that as I sit there at the end of each year among the 92%, I will still be grooming my list of New Year’s resolutions for the next year.

One of these years, I will resolve to stop procrastinating with making New Year’s resolutions. Until then, I have yet to form my official list. The truth is, it is the same list as last year, and the year before, and quite possibly, a decade before then. Yet, I will still make that list, which is slowly evolving in the back of my mind.

I have the normal resolution clichés floating through my busy mind; lose weight, stop smoking, get out of debt. The humorous ones slip in and out of the waves of thought as well; ‘refrain from purchasing a selfie stick’ topping the list.

As with procrastinating on the finalization of these resolutions, I have also procrastinated in the area of reflecting back on the previous year. I believe we all suffer with this on some level. If we didn’t, surely our global list of top New Year’s Resolutions would have varied since 1947, but it hasn’t. Not even in the slightest.

This year, I think, for the sake of personal theories, I will put a slight spin on my list of New Year’s resolutions:

  • Purchase a gym membership by January 9th… of 2015

There is one, slightly annoying, inner conflict I must deal with occasionally, I have a serious battle with going to all                 you can eat buffets. The issue lies in the concept of eating my money’s worth. Quite frankly, I can NEVER eat my                 money’s worth. No matter how exceptionally amazing the food was, I always leave slightly disappointed because I               spent $12 on a platter that couldn’t have possibly topped the $4 range. I am quite certain this same absurd quirk will            cross over to the concept of purchasing a gym membership, which most of us avoid because you simply will never                get your money’s worth… I will!

  • Place a nicotine patch on my body no later than bedtime January 1st

You see, I have an almost paralyzing fear by the small warning on the side of the nicotine patch packaging that reads, ‘smoking while using the patch may cause heart attack, stroke, or sudden death’.  I also understand that while using the patch the nicotine levels are coursing through your skin and into your blood and do not instantly leave your body the moment the patch is removed. To erase all doubt of this paralyzing fear, I must wait the recommended four hours after the patch is removed to have a cigarette which, rationally, defeats the purpose. And yes, I read the surgeon general’s warning on every pack of cigarettes I smoke without a second thought and this irrational fear of the patch use can be medically proven wrong. Please don’t do so, I enjoy being naïve on this one.

  • Do NOT allow myself to create any more personal debt including, but not limited to, frivolous spending on a selfie stick

The way I see things, it is much more realistic to not dig my hole any deeper than it already is rather than to fill in the Grand Canyon in one year with a dump truck load of dirt at my disposal. The most difficult part of this might just be not buying that darn selfie stick. Yes we all think they’re completely ridiculous, but you know you want one too!

I will continue to make New Year’s resolutions year after year, even in a decade. I don’t truly believe that only 8% achieve their resolutions each year. It may be my ignorance sneaking in again, but I’d like to believe it isn’t. You see, within those 179 million search results on Google is hidden one small little secret, a loophole, if you will. According to the vast majority of those ‘how to keep your resolutions’ advice articles it lists the number one reason for failure being that our New Year’s resolutions are too broad. In reality, our number one reason for success is that our New Year’s resolutions are too broad!

My resolution to lose weight was accomplished many times over the course of 2014, as was my goal to quit smoking. Sure I didn’t stick with any of those accomplishments, but by definition, I DID accomplish the broad resolution I set out to achieve. Ahh, the joys of personal interpretation.

You may not have lost all the weight you had planned, you may have even gained weight over the past year. I know I have! But we ended 2014 knowing more about our weight loss journey than we did a year ago. We researched and even practiced successful ways of losing weight. Sure, we may not have stuck with them long, but we did more than if we had not made a resolution to lose weight in the first place. The same goes for quitting smoking, or any other resolution you may have brushed off as a failure. You didn’t fail, you merely found ways that didn’t work!

You have a brand new year at your fingertips, a brand new chance, to find ways that will work or even a few more ways that won’t. Either way, you will have achieved more of your goal then if you had never made the goal. If you try, and fail, you will always be better off than if you have failed to ever try.

Even the cynical will admit that New Year’s is just another day and that there is no relevant purpose to using this day as a spring board for your goals. They are absolutely correct. Each and every day is a new day, a new beginning, and a new chance to take action.

A dream without a goal is simply a wish.


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