Do Not Set New Year's Resolutions | Do This Instead - Cube Dweller Fitness

Do Not Set New Year’s Resolutions | Do This Instead

Do not. I repeat, do not set New Year’s Resolutions. Do not commit yourself to something that will most likely just end up failing in the first few days, or weeks.

Instead, take a different approach.

FAIL stamp by hans.gerwitz, on Flickr
Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic License  Fail Stamp by  hans.gerwitz 

Why New Year’s Resolutions Fail

Timothy Pychyl, a professor of psychology at Carleton University in Canada, was quoted in Psychology Today’s “Why New Year’s Resolutions Fail”.

Timothy Pychyl says that resolutions are a form of “cultural procrastination,” an effort to reinvent oneself. People make resolutions as a way of motivating themselves, he says. Pychyl argues that people aren’t ready to change their habits, particularly bad habits, and that accounts for the high failure rate. Another reason, says Dr. Avya Sharma of the Canadian Obesity Network, is that people set unrealistic goals and expectations in their resolutions.

Too often resolutions are too many steps, or changes, away from reality. They are lofty and often the daily steps aren’t thought through. Instead they are drastic plans that force changes in deeply ingrained habits. Change is tough, drastic changes to habits are even tougher.

How Often Do Resolutions Fail?

I turned to wikipedia to find some statistics on the failure rates of New Year’s resolutions. In their post on New Year’s Resolutions they identify these failure rates based on two different studies:

  • 88% Fail – Recent research shows that while 52% of participants in a resolution study were confident of success with their goals, only 12% actually achieved their goals
  • 78% Fail – A separate study in 2007 by Richard Wisemen from the University of Bristol showed that 78% of those who set New Year resolutions fail.

What’s 10% difference anyway? Whether the failure rate is 78% or 88% is really pointless. The sad reality is that on average they fail, period.

So what can you different this year?

Do This Instead – New Year’s Vision

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What’s Your New Year’s Vision

Think about. What would you like to see different in this upcoming year? What would be part of your new year’s vision?

Take time to ponder and cast a compelling vision for the coming year. Then, with that vision in mind, make small daily choices toward that vision. Take time to celebrate each individual success, each small supportive step you make towards your vision. Share your vision with a few people close to you; ask them to help celebrate your little victories. Enjoy the momentum and see a difference in the year. Do not set New Year’s Resolutions; instead cast a compelling New Year’s Vision.

Leave a comment and share your thoughts and maybe even your vision.


Troy is the founder of Cube.Dweller.Fitness. He's an innovation catalyst in several areas of life including business, marketing, and process improvement. Outside of work he's actively involved in fitness, health, and living vibrantly in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado.

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