As the confetti settles and the hangover sets in from New Year’s Eve, people all over the world are waking up this morning with something they completely lack the other 364 days of the year: resolve. Call it the Auld Lang Syne effect–there’s something about the beginning of a brand new year that just fills us with false hope, motivation, and good intentions. I’ve never been one to make New Year’s resolutions, and the reason why has everything to do with personal accountability, something that’s become a bit of an antiquity in today’s society. (If you’re a frequent follower of my blog, as you should be, you might notice that the thought process behind this post is reminiscent of an older one entitled HaMoLoObMo: Hating Month Long Observances Month, in which I delve into my issues with month-long celebrations.)

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I’m anti-resolution because I think making resolutions lifts the accountability off of you as an individual and shifts it onto the holiday hype. How do I figure that, you’re wondering, if it’s my resolution, how could it be anything but my responsibility? Well, that’s the thing about resolutions: 99% of the time, the goals you set for yourself at the start of a bright and shiny new year are things you really should’ve started in spring of the past year, or fall, or whenever the moment was that you realized that particular goal was something you wanted to achieve. Call me crazy, but I don’t see the logic in putting off something you want or need to do in the name of starting a new year with that at the top of your to-do list.

Some may argue that they need a little motivation to get started on their goal, and making what they want to accomplish a “New Year’s resolution” adds a heightened sense of accountability. To that I’m torn between saying “fair enough” and “that’s total BS.” When you have something you want to accomplish, no matter how grandiose or even how simple that achievement is, it can be hard to figure out where to start, but I truly believe if you’re serious about your goal, you’ll find a way to do it. You guys, I’m going to ruin New Year’s for you a little here, but a New Year’s Resolution is merely the same kind of ambition you’d have at any other time of the year, only dressed up in fancier clothes and made after a night of too much champagne. (…Well, technically, I guess it might be dressed up as a baby in a diaper wearing some heinous party hat.) What is it about a new calendar year that suddenly makes something you should’ve done months ago so much more important to you? That’s the heart of the problem for me.

Call me old fashioned, but what happened to the days of accomplishing your goals or taking spontaneous leaps of faith the minute they occur to you? We’re entering into 2013 now–we’ve got fiscal cliffs, iClouds, Bluetooth, everything’s only getting faster and slimmer, the world is getting smaller and smaller, and as a result, our lives are fortunately getting easier every day. But when it comes to your own goals, I don’t think we should take the easy, trendy way out by relying on making resolutions. If it’s the middle of April, and you suddenly decide you want to start saving money for a house, start saving money for a house! If it’s a hot summer afternoon in July, and you have an epiphany that you want to get serious about getting into shape, go for a walk that same day! If nothing else, the dawn of a new year should make us all appreciative and aware that we don’t know how much time we have, so why leave anything to chance, or rather, why leave anything you want to get done to the next New Year’s?

Instead of making specific resolutions this year, make a promise to yourself to do the one thing that’s worth committing to: don’t let the calendar dictate when you start chasing your dreams or working towards your goals. There’s no time like the present, and hey, there’s nothing wrong with having an excuse to pop a bottle of champagne during random months throughout the year, am I right?

21 thoughts on “The Road to Hell is Paved with New Year’s Resolutions

  1. Lol, I love the way you think and to me they make sense. You just have a better way of explaining things in words. My new year goal was last March and I was serious about my diet and it’s still going.

  2. Yep, I agree with you. Last year I made one resolution though and that was not to make any more resolutions: I’ve stuck to it. The only one, probably, I’ve ever stuck to. Well, the only new year’s one I’ve ever stuck to! I did resolve to get out of the urban environment I was living in some years ago and move to a rural one – and I achieved that but that was not a new year’s resolution but a long-term one that came on oh, a long time before.

  3. Another thought-provoking post, Katie.

    In my previous post ( ) I had proposed that Resolutions, as the word connotes, should not be something that will have to be resolved only. That is why I said in there that Resolutions should take the form of Goals this time, because it rather connotes a future state that you would want to be in your life. I also mentioned that one of the reasons why Resolutions fail or is now becoming fast like a non-sense, is because they are made when the balls are about to drop, and yes as you said, over several bottles of champagne.

    My post and yours are not opposites. I’d like to believe that mine is the middle ground between non-sense Resolutions versus no Resolutions at all. Thank you Katie.

  4. In order to make resolutions you would have to goals right? Since i don’t have goals, at least ones that I know of this is a great time of the year to reinforce the fact that I will continue to not have goals. You are right about the time of the year though too because I started my blog to bring bitterness to the world in March, because I found that there was too much happiness. So I actually have a goal. Yeah me!

  5. Right on. I think people make resolutions to gain support from other people. Those folks don’t even want to do whatever it is that they’ve resolved to do. I like your philosophy. And your spunk. And your cookies.

  6. I agree. It seems funny how people have all these ambitions for the new year, like they’re waiting for it. The thing is one should focus on what they accomplish right now. Want to save money? Don’t make that much money… start by saving $20 from a paycheck. I must admit though, putting your goals for the year puts them in a nice little, measurable package, that’s why I couldn’t resist listing what I want to accomplish for 2013.

  7. “If nothing else, the dawn of a new year should make us all appreciative and aware that we don’t know how much time we have, so why leave anything to chance, or rather, why leave anything you want to get done to the next New Year’s?”

    That was really well said, Katie. I think a lot about the future. Constantly, actually. So, some may say I’m living in the future, rather than the present, but there’s something nice about thinking “What is this year going to bring?” The trouble with me is that there is soooooo much I want to accomplish that if I were to just do it when I wanted to set that goal, there wouldn’t be enough time in the day or week to start it all (let along accomplish it). That’s actually something I’ve been thinking about a lot lately.

    After you post about “HaMoLoObMo” and our discussions, I really get where you’re coming from a lot more. I agree that people aren’t taking it upon themselves to accomplish things. But I still think the truth is that a lot of people need help, or a bit of incentive, so what do you think would be a good solution to that? Or what do you think people could do to help their “drive for life” and not dwell on things that give you false hope? Therapy? A Life Coach? I’m really stumped on this one…

    1. Well, not to be cynical, but I’m not exactly sure there’s anything to do to solve this problem. With so many other things going on in our lives on a daily basis, a lot of people don’t even really think about this kind of stuff. When you’ve got the daily struggles real life staring you in the face every day, it’s hard sometimes to really carve out time to contemplate the future. It’s not easy stuff to make time for, and it’s not easy to know what steps one should take, and so I think in the absence of the effort New Year’s gives the perfect opportunity to dump all those goals from the back of your mind into resolutions.

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