Be honest, have New Year Resolutions ever worked for you?
To welcome the one celebration that brings people together in the cold, counting seconds under a clock, the one celebration that wraps humanity in a cloak of bliss and hopefulness, my personal tradition for New Year consists of re-reading the [what will be] previous year’s journal entries.
2021. Man, what a ride you’ve been. I don’t wanna write about you if I can help it.
Alas, my little trip down memory lane brought one conversation from 2021 to the spotlight. And if memory serves, it went like this:
If you are that someone who achieves their resolutions, congrats. You’re one rare unicorn, my friend.
But if you’ve scrapped your New Year’s Resolutions like poop under a boot one too many times and felt as if you were destined to fail your NY list from day one—you, I’m writing this for you.
80% of people fail their resolutions. And that’s not pessimism, that’s statistics.
Make no mistake, I’m not showing you the numbers so you can talk yourself out of ever having to make the necessary changes in your life.
No, what I and the numbers are trying to tell you is a simple truth: New Year ’s Resolutions…are not your best friend.
And one surefire way to fail them is to have them in the first place.
But let’s talk about why they flop, how you can change that, and what mindset you can bring into the rest of 2022.
1. Stop sprinting for the marathon.
A very ominous warning looms on the surface of New Year’s Resolutions: Fail one time and you fail it all.
Ate too much leftovers? Fail.
Missed your workout? Fail.
Slept in? Fail.
Next thing you know, you dive into the following months with the horrible stench of failure trailing behind. And that never works out well.
Remember, you’re here for the long run—not just day one but every day that comes next. Instead of treating your resolutions as strict conditions, view them as a guide.
Think about it. What you’ve written are actually revelations of what you regard as important to your life. Find the overarching areas—health, habits, or finance—and start there. We can’t leave this up to chance, no siree. Which brings me to number 2.
2. Well? What’s the plan?
You need a plan.
Eat better, exercise more, save money—I hate to break it to you, but those are not plans. Those are suggestions. And they’re easy to dismiss when they become inconvenient. Not to mention suggestions are fragile little things. They get pushed off the cliff by the things that are Urgent: Do It Now. On rocky plains, they land and shatter into a million pieces to be blown away by the wind.
So, you need to sit your butt down, grab a pen, some paper, your iPad, and your laggy computer and WRITE. IT. DOWN. You need a plan and some number 3.
3. A system and some accountability.
Big success is the result of small, sustained actions and changes compounded over time. That means without a clear and sustainable structure that makes space for self-accountability, your plans are headed for the bin. How do you create systems for your life? I’ve got tips.
4. Shame. Shame. Shame.
The self-help industry has become this towering figure of “authority” for how you and I are supposed to live our lives. And while I don’t like confining the work I do to a specific category, I, however, fall into self-help by a broad spectrum.
Self-help can get nasty.
I’m all for inspiring and helping people be the best they can be. I love it. More power. But you can’t deny that all this talk of being our best selves can sometimes foster an environment of shame whenever we fail to be that person.
So if you’re reading this and are in the habit of cursing or shaming yourself for falling short every now and then, I want you to stop pulling that crap.
Accountability is not being mean to yourself. It’s showing up as someone who is aware of their responsibility but is also willing to learn from failure.
5. It’s [only] the first week of January.
Give yourself time (a lot of it) AND use the time you give yourself.
Our society loves gushing about the 30 under 30 list, but we tend to brush the sacrifices, sleepless nights, and tears under the rug.
If I boil down this article to its ultimate density, the message would be this: Anyone who tries a lot will fail a lot. Try anyway.
For more notes on the work, “Your success is revealed in your daily routine” echoes four practical advice and confronts the Zero to Hero Myth. Couple that with Steven Pressfield’s bold exploration of the unlived life that haunts all dreamers.