Why New Year’s Resolutions may be Counter Productive…

Through TheNewHappyMe Journey, I had the honour of meeting some lovely friends. With the incredible stories they each tell, with the wide range of experiences they share, each of these friends has been able to teach me something about life.

Here is an article written by my friend Peter Wright. Peter has more than one website now and is testing out what works best for him. We sometimes chat about how things are moving along and he has always been supportive of my endeavours. I actually find him super inspiring! You can read about his incredible story (moving to Canada after many ups and downs and living through horrors as a commercial farmer in Zimbabwe) on his bio page http://peterwrightsblog.com/about/.

Peter has learned a lot through life in general; as a baby boomer, he has a wealth of experience to share with us. Here is the article he sent me about New Year’s Resolutions and his suggestion on how to improve your chances of success.


New Year’s Resolutions are Counter Productive

For most people, New Years Resolutions are exercises in futility.


Studies indicate that by January 31 each year, up to 88% of people have already forgotten or abandoned them. If this is a futile exercise, why is there so much attention in the media about them? Why do so many people feel or think they should make them?

The answer to both questions is in the FEEL and THINK part. When we FEEL or THINK we should do something,it is generally as a result of some outside pressure:

  • We got caught up in the end-of-year-media-hype.
  • “Every one” else is doing them.
  • “They” say we should.
  • Mr X & Mrs./Miss Y Recommend it and “everyone” knows how successful they are.

Feeling and thinking can both be strongly motivating emotions, but when it comes to New Year Resolutions, they are just not strong enough.  Feeling, thinking, like wishing, wanting and hoping, do not have the traction to get 100% commitment.

To accomplish big goals, we need 100% commitment, the only way to build it is with a burning, compelling, overwhelming desire to achieve that goal. A wishy washy statement that “I will lose 20 lbs” or “I will get a better job” at a family Christmas dinner or New Years Eve party is definitely
not going to work. The very term “New Years Resolution” is hard to take seriously, it’s a favourite of comedians and cartoonists and it is often treated frivolously in the media.

If we really want to change our lives, we need to have a vision and we need to set goals. There are many goal setting systems and ideas. The system that works for me is yearly, 90 day, weekly and daily goals. Yearly and 90 day are split into 4 areas:

Wealth – Business and finance
Health – Exercise, and diet
Personal – Relaxation and travel. Reading, self Improvement.
Social – Family and friends.

Weekly and daily goals are really action steps that will move me closer to my goals.

Before starting my goal setting exercise for the New Year, I spend time in December “Archiving”the year about to end. It does not matter how bad the year has been, there will always be many highlights, successes, accomplishments and happy events to record. I go through my diary, gratitude and daily success journal and write down all the significant successes in one list and the disappointments in another.

This is a wonderfully motivating exercise. The list of good stuff far exceeds the few not so good. I find myself smiling at memories of good things and successes from months before. It reminds me that I actually got a lot done during the year.

Then I think carefully about the year and honestly write out the answers to 3 questions:

  1. How did I limit myself and how can I overcome that limitation in ….(the new year).
  2. What have I learned from this exercise. 
  3. How will I improve in ….(Following year)

When I have finished, I put the document in a file marked “Archives” and the year it refers to, then put it away in my filing cabinet and forget about the disappointments. They have been handled, dealt with, put to rest.  Then I am in the right frame of mind to work on my 12 month and 90 day goals.

It’s not the system we use, or the way we write our goals that make a difference; they are just tools to help us focus and keep on track. What makes the difference is our commitment – our why.


Peter, we think alike!! Thank you for sharing your thoughts with TheNewHappyMe readers!



Related posts:

  1. The hype about New Year’s Resolutions
  2. How I kept my Resolutions this year
  3. No More Resolutions!
  4. Feedback from a friend: New Year’s Resolutions
  5. Where to start when thinking of New Year’s Resolutions?

One Response to “Why New Year’s Resolutions may be Counter Productive…”

  1. Peter Wright says:

    Thank you for your kind words Carmen and thank you for the opportunity to shares some thoughts with your readers.

    Inspiration is a 2 way street, I am equally, if not more fortunate, that our paths crossed and I can benefit from your wonderful example.

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