If you are busy making another set of new year’s resolutions for January, I invite you to ditch them and join me in the anti New Year’s resolution movement. This movement is simply a resolve not to fall back into the routine of making annual resolutions that will collapse before the end of the first few months.

This will require quite the mindset shift if you ask me. We are so wired to use the new year as a signal to plan, regroup and start afresh. The act (making resolutions) is not the problem, but the pressure that comes with it. But what if we took the pressure away from this exercise? Rather than trying to make great changes or big shifts in behaviour why not set our sights doing more of the things that bring us joy instead.

new year's resolution
Photo: Simplify | Judette Coward

Are New Year’s Resolution a Waste of Time?

I think with everything, you get out of it what you put in. There are many people who religiously set and keep their new year’s resolutions. What is the secret? Discipline and setting realistic goals. This is not to say your goals should not be challenging, but they shouldn’t be where they are unattainable. For example, as an established runner, setting a goal around running should be related to pushing your limits based on your existing output.

Ditch the new year’s resolution and start a movement

Rather than ticking off another box, why not ditch the resolutions and start a movement this year. The most important thing here is to get started. So how do we do this?

Build Up Habits

When starting a new routine, one of the biggest reasons for failure is being over ambitious. Ambition is great, but the reality of a new routine may not live up to it. So for example if your goal is to get consistent at running its best to start slow and build over time. You can begin with a weekly short run at a very convenient time to you and each week you add either more mileage or look for ways you can add a second run to your week. When you build on your habits you are more likely to stick with it over time.

I use the same approach at CrossFit, if I can’t lift the weight posted for the WOD, I start at 50-70% of it and keep building until I make it. And I am definitely not in competition with all the strong ladies in my gym!

About Exercise

My advice, start with something that can be done anywhere and even better solo. You know I love tennis, and its a great sport, however without a partner I cannot play. So, if that was my only means of exercise, getting it done would require the commitment of someone else. Having a partner to work with is great; especially one that hold you accountably. However, when starting a new exercise regime, its best not to have your success tied to someone else’s commitment level.

Another year another New Diet

One of the top resolutions every year is to lose weight or get in better shape! But have you ever asked yourself if this is a goal that needs to be started on January 1 specifically? And are you equipped to attempt this goal. One of the biggest drivers of failure in general is not being specific about our goals. So instead of a broad goal to get in shape, instead let’s be specific about one tangible thing you will do daily or weekly to get in shape.

new year's resolution

Sometimes you just need a little help. And there is this African proverb “If you want to go fast, go alone; but if you want to go far, go together.” that speaks to creating a village. This can be applied here or in any situation where having an accountability partner can help you achieve your set goals. I can personally attest to this. When I went about my weight loss journey one of the things that helped was working with the group and having weekly accountability check-ins.

Levelling up in Business and Life

Another aspect of this movement is levelling up. But levelling up in business and life requires confidence. Building confidence does not happen overnight and involves focusing on the positives in your life and seeing failure as an opportunity. This approach is therefore more specific and uplifting and easier to achieve. This is another aspect in life where you can dig deep within yourself or seek external help.

One of the best business decisions I made last year was joining Simplify, a business coaching group in June, not January. So you see, you really don’t need to jump on the moving train because its the new year. Once you are intentional about your goals you will seek out how to achieve them.

Final Thoughts on The Anti New Year’s Resolution Movement

The start of a new year can signal rebirth and an opportunity to start afresh. Its the time of year where we also reflect on our achievements and failures and look to righting wrongs and improving on the positives. But this exercise can also bring about much stress.

Hence my decision some time back to ditch the whole new year’s resolution exercise and instead resolve to be gentle with myself. Practice self care and take life as it comes. These are just my personal thoughts about resolutions. I would love to hear your feedback and how you are approaching the new year. Do you set new year’s resolutions? If so what are the secrets to actually keeping them? Please feel free to share your thoughts in the comments or email me, I really want to know. Looking forward to hearing from you.

P.S. I just really love this picture by one of my favourite photographers of us girls just enjoying the summer. It screams, live life, and enjoy the moments. Now that’s a resolution I could get behind 🙂