The Problem With New Year’s Resolutions

W. Tate Brannan

Every year, I suspect, that a large percentage of humanity make “New Years Resolutions”.  The problem with such resolutions is that they are not undergirded with the determination to see them through.  Some of the most popular resolutions are to (1) lose weight, (2) Spend more time with family, (3) do that home improvement project.  I am sure that you can think of other resolutions.  We make these promises to ourselves without any substantial consequences.  Often, we fail to meet our goals.  We justify our abandonment of our good intentions by saying to ourselves, “It doesn’t hurt anyone but me”, or “Hey, I tried.”  But therein lies the problem.  We don’t give ourself enough respect.  If it were a promise to a neighbor or friend you would keep it because you value the relationship that you have with them and don’t want to injure that relationship, or don’t want others to think bad of you.  But we don’t value the relationship with have with ourselves.  You know this to be true because when you fail yourself, there is that inner disappointment that you feel because you’ve broken another personal promise.  Another issue with “New Years Resolutions” are we make them one day a year.  If we fail to make our commitment within the first couple of weeks, then we’ve dodged the bullet.  We convince ourselves we can wait another year.  We make weightless promises to ourselves that we will do it next January.  Why do we feel that we can’t make changes anytime other than in the New Year? I’ll leave it to you to answer that question.

So how do we correct this issue.  The first thing is, we have to make a commitment that we are going to respect ourselves.  What does that mean?  It means that we will guard our reputation and not allow it to be tarnished.  It means we will show respect to our bodies by cherishing personal health.  It means no more broken promises.  This is a core character trait that we will enforce with vigor.  There are no such things as white lies.  A lie is a lie.  The worse kind of lie is the lie we tell ourselves.  The second thing is don’t make commitments that you can’t or aren’t willing to keep.  We often have good intentions in the moment, but when we take the time to think about it, we may have overextended ourselves. Thirdly, don’t think about the big promises.  Make small promises that have residual affect.  For example: Don’t say, “I’m going to lose 15 pounds.”  The better commitment is to make a decision and a plan to eat healthier and to exercise at least 30 minutes a day.  Weight loss will be a by product of that “resolution”, and your body will love you for it.  Don’t just say you are going to spend more time with your family, make a plan to do it on a regular basis and then do it.  My wife and I decided to spend more time with her parents and chose to do that by having them over for dinner once a week.  We have been doing this for about five years now and have found that it has been beneficial to all concerned.  The stories we have heard and the joy we have shared has created memories that will last a lifetime.   Another thing is that resolutions can be made anytime of the year, not just at New Years.  I made a resolution in November of 2020 that I wanted to lose some weight.  In order to accomplish this, I reasoned that I would have to make some lifestyle changes.  I would have to give up soda – and I did.  I would have to eat healthier – and I do. I would have to control my portions – and I do. Finally, I would have to get some sort of exercise every day.  Everyday I walk to the post office to get the mail and back.  I do this by making use of the walking path behind my house.  It ends up being about a 25-minute walk and somedays I do more.  These lifestyle changes have allowed me to lose 15 pounds.  The thing about lifestyle changes is they are changes you a committing to make for life, but you will be better off for it.    

The word “resolution” come from the root word “resolute.” Which means to have resolve.  Resolve is one of the keys that is often missing when we make “New Years Resolutions.”  It is the one ingredient that is essential to accomplishing the goals we want to achieve in life.  I challenge you to make a goal to “Resolve to respect yourself by guarding your reputation, by keeping your promises, to respect your body by cherishing and protecting its’ health and make life decisions that will help you live life well.”  With that, I wish a Happy New Year to you and your families.  If you liked my article please follow me at “”; for more weekly articles to come.