What’s the Point of New Year’s Resolutions?

It’s a new year. And with every New Year comes the dreaded New Year’s Resolutions. I feel as if, at least in American society, there is almost this pressure that you have to make at least one resolution as the year begins.

I grew up in a house where New Year Resolutions weren’t really a thing. Yeah, I knew about them, but they weren’t a big deal. I probably made a resolution once or twice in my life. I’ve just never cared about them. But to some people, they are a big thing.

“I want to lose twenty pounds this year.” “I want to give up smoking this year.” “I want to learn a new language.”

These and many more are common resolutions people make every year. I personally prefer reading/writing resolutions like, “I’ll read thirty books this year” or “I’ll write a book this year.” But whatever resolutions a person makes, I personally have never really got the point of New Years’ Resolutions.

Let me step back. I have absolutely no problem with resolutions in life. I think it’s great to have goals to work towards. I just don’t get why making a resolution at the beginning of the year means that you are more likely to complete it then if you started it at any other time of the year.

As you may be able to guess, I’m not fond of New Year’s Resolutions in general, but I wanted to learn some stats behind the American tradition.

According to Statistic Brain, out of the 58% of Americans who have ever committed to any New Year’s Resolution, only 9.2% “felt they were successful in achieving their resolution.” (source).

This is a dismal amount, and other statistics (like Forbes) give even lower success rate than 9.2%.

I couldn’t help wondering why this is the case? Is it because people have way to high expectations of their ability? If they’ve only read five books a year for five years, wouldn’t setting the goal to fifty books a year (ten times the amount) be a bit too high? Or is it just that a year is too long a length to complete a goal?

For me, all these things are usually an issue. If you set the bar too high, it might be impossible to meet it. Instead of setting your goal at fifty books, instead say you’ll read ten books, which is twice the amount you usually read but still much more realistic than fifty.

Also, instead of making a year goal—like I’ll lose fifty pounds this year—making a more short-term goal—like I’ll lose two pounds a week (this may still be a little high, but you get my point).

It’s a lot easier to set a goal for a short time then to try to keep a goal for a whole year.

For example, stats show that as the months continue the percentage of success goes down. This is because it’s easier to keep a goal for a month than for an entire year.

That is why I advise—and I do this myself—to make smaller, shorter goals. For example, instead of saying I’m going to read this amount of books in a year, say I’m going to read one book this week.

If you look at the small picture, you won’t get overwhelmed thinking about how far you are from your goal. You’ll get less discouraged because you’ll feel that adrenaline of success on a monthly or weekly basis, instead of trying to keep momentum up for a whole year.

That’s my opinion of New Year’s Resolutions and why I’ve never been fond of them. I’m curious what your opinion is. Do you usually make New Year’s Resolutions and, more importantly, do you usually keep them? Let me know down in the comments, follow my blog for more madness, and, as always,

Best wishes in your life full of adventure,

Madame Writer

7 thoughts on “What’s the Point of New Year’s Resolutions?

  1. I am not fond of New Year’s Resolutions, either. Reading wise, I’ll love to participate in a reading challenge, so I’m looking into that at the moment.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’ve tried multiple times to complete reading challenges and usually failed (unless it is more about quantity). I just find them a bit limiting like “read a book published posthumously.” But in theory, I would love to participate in a reading challenge too! If you find a good one, I’d love to know about it.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Your goals are much more realistic, after all, who knows what’s going to happen by the end of 2018? Personally I think people are so relieved the fuss and stress of Christmas/New Year is over that they form a resolution around the first diabolical thing which comes into their heads – I’m going to renovate my house 😉

    Liked by 1 person

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