I Resolve Not To

I don’t like New Year’s resolutions.  I don’t like making them.  I don’t like writing about them.  I don’t like the societal pressure to engage in them.  I don’t like that they lead to crowds at the gym.  I don’t like when people ask what mine are since I don’t have a good response.  I really don’t like that I can never, ever KEEP them.

So, let’s explore my clear emotional issues with such a simple and widely engaged in practice that most other people see as positive and worthwhile.

I would guess that every time I made New Year’s resolutions in the past, they were about losing weight.  Until last year’s “pseudo-resolution” to adopt a healthy lifestyle (which was only sort of about losing weight and only sort of a resolution).  I’m still working on that one.

Now don’t get me wrong – I agree with the general concept of making resolutions.  I looked up the definition just to be sure.  As a verb, to resolve is to come to a definite or earnest decision about something; to come to a determination.  As a noun, resolve is firmness of purpose or intent; determination.  Yep – sounds great to me!

That brings me back to asking myself why I am so resistant to give in to this time-honored tradition as I sit here in early January.  I think it all stems back to the fact that I always failed to keep resolutions in the past and I’m afraid that I will fail again.  Or maybe I just see it as pointless.  Or do I really just not want to commit to certain things?  Or am I just being contrary and rebelling against peer pressure?  Or, speaking of pressure, does the whole idea of setting goals and trying to meet them just stress me out?  And does it even matter?

So I resolve… not to.  Not to set New Year’s resolutions. But don’t let that fool you.  Or disappoint you.  I am working on myself.  I am working towards that elusive healthy lifestyle.  And a few other things, as well.  I am “firm of purpose and intent” and filled with determination.  I am!  So, again, I am playing with semantics – I am not making resolutions, but I am resolute.



Filed under goals, holidays/seasons/weather

51 responses to “I Resolve Not To

  1. I can’t decide what to do about resolutions. I’ve put off thinking about it, but now that we are home from Florida, I can’t put it off any longer. I’ve always made them and usually with some success, but for some reason, this year feels different. That “feeling” is reflecting in my writing, so at this point, I may be with you in resolving NOT TO!!

  2. I think it’s bold and self-assertive to NOT do any resolutions. I’ve held many of the same beliefs and fears. And that’s why most of my goals for the coming year began with “Continue…” They’re things I’m already working on — things I want to continue.

  3. Karen, hilarious and intriguing post.

    I, too, gave up resolutions years ago. At first I thought it was because I often failed at keeping them, but I really believe that it is because resolutions are rules, and I have always seen myself as a bit of a rebel. Although, to be honest, that is such a fantasy because I do generally follow rules…but please don’t tell anyone.

  4. I just posted this on Jody’s blog ( http://truth2beingfit.com/2011/01/02/resolutions—not-here.aspx ), applies here too… “Learned long ago not to make resolutions, they are poison as I see them. Only because they are made on jan. 1 and most often not made in any format similar to SMART. Resolutions are not goals unless the thought to achieve is put to them and most resolutions never get that degree of thought. Without the needed thought, abandonment is inevitable.”

    Expanding thought to your specific post here, I do believe there is a point to making a resolution, just as there is a point to making any goal. I believe we need to make & work at goals to become better at whatever we desire. The key to what I just said is “& work”… when we set goals we truly desire, we put a plan in place, we check our progress, and when we see a need to make adjustments to ensure success, we change the plan.

    That is the difference between goals & resolutions, when we realize our resolutions are not working out the change we make to the non-plan in place is to abandon the resoltuion because we know we can make another go at it again next Jan. 1st

    Stay Resolute Every Day!

  5. Ah, Patrick beat me here.. you guys are 3 hours ahead! 🙂

    I wrote my post today about this & how I don’t do resolutions BUT I have plans on things I want to do..

    Like you, expectations of others can bring me down where for many, they spur them on.

    Me, I keep the pressure on myself & that is what works for me…. you can read about it at my place but we seem on the same wavelength Karen…

  6. Thanks for visiting my blog today! 🙂

    I hear you about new years resolutions. I suck at keeping them. How many times have I made resolutions to “lose weight and stop biting my nails?” Ugh. I swear just making a resolution jinxes me to fail at it. I’m really not sure why that is, especially when I’m such a fan of goal-setting. I think it has something to do with the enormity of the resolution. For instance, “I’m going to lose 100 pounds” sounds fine and dandy, but it’s a little overwhelming. Perhaps if I had set mini-resolutions, I would have been more successful, such as “I resolve to eat XXX amount of calories per day/week” or “I resolve to eat more fish this year.”

    Hmmm. Food for thought.

    • Karen

      Yep, I think that might actually be a better approach. Unless, like me, you just are going to rebel anyways! I failed at almost every goal I set this year as part of something public. What’s with that!?

  7. I think New Years resolutions are trite and a peer pressure thing. I believe in setting clear, written goals. Then working towards them, no matter the time of year. Happy New Year!

  8. I tend to not do New Year’s resolutions. I do think they are just like dieting. Easy to start, easy to break. It is better to try to live well all year long. Or maybe the idea is that every day is a day for resolutions.

  9. I’m more of a New-Day’s-Resolution girl. A whole year is kind of daunting, but I can do anything for just one day. String a few of those puppies together, and you have a new habit.

  10. Ummm, like Patrick said. I also posted about SMART goals today. I think it’s a bit cheeky to ask someone what their New Year’s resolutions are. Are you suggesting that there is something I need to change (lol). Therein lies the societal pressure. Whether it is January 1st or June 12th matters not. I joined WW on December 29th and I received a few raised eyebrows on that one. Why now? Because I was ready for it. I really enjoy your posts.

    • Karen

      Thanks, Darla. And I “restarted” or whatever you call it on December 26 this year. Last year on December 28. Now if I had only stayed on track in between:)

  11. You know I’m with you on this.

    I’ve even decided that I’m done with blog challenges. I just fizzle out somewhere along the way, which I’d do anyway, but when I do it in the public format of a blog where I have to show up weekly and declare my fizzlehood – it seems pointless and unproductive…and embarrassing. Obviously the peer support of a challenge doesn’t prevent me from getting in my own way.

    I have to do this for myself. Of course I’m still resolute about getting to goal this year, and adopting that healthier lifestyle across the board. I’m just not calling it a resolution, and I’m not going to do it in the realm of a challenge. How’s that for more info than you asked for??!!

    • Karen

      “fizzlehood” – love it. You have such a great way with words. Yep, we have to do it for ourselves and have to find what works for each of us. Still looking. Maybe I’ll find it with the socks that never made it out of the laundry!

  12. Nice distinction–resolutions vs. resoluteness!

    I don’t do traditional resolutions either, but I do create a a master ‘tasks’ list of things that really need to get done. They tend to be practical things (paint the living room, finish my book, etc.), because those are things that can be checked off the list. (I love checkmarks!)

    • Karen

      I like lists. I don’t like clutter – so… my lists tend to get rewritten to take items off. I know, so opposite of most people who like to see evidence of their accomplishments.

  13. Ha! No worries Karen, no resolutions here either 😉

    The best I can come up with is: work easy, play often, love freely….

    As far as the health stuff? I think we’re all on the “right” track, eh? Little by little, day by day…


    • Karen

      How about… read a great book!?

      • Maybe you’re onto something here too… Like make a list of resolutions you KNOW you will do:

        1. read a good book
        2. write a nice comment on PB’s blog at least 5 times this year
        3. at least once, pass on the bagels
        4. write at least two thumbs up/thumbs down posts this year
        5. write at least one post praising my son this year

        How bout that? You could then answer anybody who asks, “Yes, I made 5 resolutions this year… want to hear them?” AND, you’d have a nice 180 degree bend in your resolution history!

  14. I think sometimes I failed at my resolutions cuz they were ridiculous- but this year I focused on ones that I felt I really could do. Telling myself I’m going to make a resolution to work out at least an hour a day? not doable- but telling myself I’m going to exercise in some way each day- doable. I didn’t say how LONG the exercise had to be 😉

  15. I said the same thing. I hate resolutions, because for me only having them at New Years used to give me an 11 month pass to be naughty, then in January I would try to be strict. Not happening.

    Polar’s Mom

  16. I’m with you (as usual).
    No matter about official “Resolutions”… this is going to be a great year!!

  17. I think you have the right idea! I tried to make my resolutions things I wanted to do anyway and things I might actually be able to accomplish!

  18. Haha, well, I like your resolve (sorry, had to!) not to make any resolutions! I also loathe that it makes the gym about twice as full as normal, but that always thins out after February.

    • Karen

      Well, I am thinking I won’t add to those gym crowds this year if I get the go ahead from the doctor to start P90X! (Just gotta clear up this little possible hernia thing.)

  19. There’s a somewhat crass but fairly amusing video on the linked blog about the four types of Resolutionaries invading our gyms this January: http://www.rachelwilkerson.com/2011/01/02/new-years-gym-busy-resolutionaries/

    It’s worth a look. I laughed.

  20. Good for you! I don’t do New Years Resolutions either. Gave that up years ago.

  21. I’m calling the goals this year. I read that it’s better to call them that. I’m not sure if the mind game will work but I’m going with it.

    I have 9 goals this year and some are weight loss related and some are not. I’m trying to be a better overall person than just a skinny person.

  22. I feel the same way. I don’t make NYE Resolutions. I make monthly goals to challenge myself and keep myself interested in changing and transforming my life. I changed the way I eat and live and move my body years ago. Now I’m just enjoying life and trying to improve myself.

  23. Happy New Year!

    Good for you, I don’t make resolutions either. I have goals but I don’t make resolutions. It’s almost like a set up to fail.

  24. Hi Karen! I was reading this post at work earlier today and my boss walked in so I had to close the window and I didn’t have time to comment! 🙂

    You know I love resolutions. I love goals. I love to try anything that will motivate me. I use my resolutions as way of guiding myself towards the person that I want to become and what I want to accomplish. I don’t know if I’ll ever really be happy with myself until I’m perfect! Lol! Sometimes my resolutions or goals or challenges work, and sometimes they don’t.

  25. Frankly, I admire your decisiveness. I’ve never done challenges before my current one because I’ve always been the type of person who feels there is a time and place for every action. If the mind is only ready because of a date and not because of an action that’s led him/her to a decision to change, it won’t last. Every day that we wake up is a new beginning. I think my decision to do my very first (and very public) challenge is because everything just seemed to fall into place at that time, which happened to be the right time for me.

    • Karen

      You have a great approach to life:) And, I think you are right – the timing, life, it all came together for you right now and the challenge is what came from it. I hope everyone who participates finds something they are looking for:)

  26. Love, love, love that last paragraph. You are resolute. Excellent.

  27. I feel the same way. I have things I want to achieve, but I don’t set out on them just because its the new year. It’s actually more this is when the baby is due that has me starting a lot of my goals.

  28. I totally understand not wanting to set resolutions. I think for me it is because of a long history of failure and a dumb rebelliousness that makes me not want to do what anyone tells me (including myself)!
    I did make “goals” for this year for the first time in a long time, but only because they are continuations of goals I’ve already had 9 months of success with.
    I think it’s great that you’re resolved to work toward a healthier life and it doesn’t matter a fig whether you call them “resolutions” or not. In the end, all that matters is what works for you. Best wishes for a resolute 2011:-)

  29. Vee

    Here here! I didn’t make resolutions either, but did make some goals and setting up the steps to accomplish them. “Resolutions” are practically expected to be broken. Not for me this year. Nope. Not gonna happen. Coz it’s all about semantics, and living, and life happening, and constantly changing priorities. Smile! Vee at http://veegettinghealthy.blogspot.com

  30. Wow Karen, pretty strong emotions towards resolutions. Personally, I think I fail each year at my goals. In fact, I never made any goals for myself prior to the last few years. I may fail in the long run but I do have small achievements along the way. And so what if I fail? We have to fail to succeed. Period. 🙂

  31. VERY well said. I actually agree wholeheartedly with what you wrote. Maybe it’s due to decades of failed resolutions, but I hate that word – and all that it has meant to me.

    Instead, I use this time to focus my resolve.

    Great post – really. 🙂

  32. Here are some more semantics for you…I make goals. Goals can be revised and oftent need to be.

    As a side note on the resolutions for losing weight. When I first got to goal, I didn’t begin that until February. I’m not sure if that was a late resolution or a goal aimed at my next birthday, which also lands in February.

    Last year, I spent much of the time pissing and moaning about the weight I picked up…more now than when I began, ugh…

    Right now, my goal is to treat myself with respect and practice good behaviors. I do have some things written out that I posted on my blog…mostly to lead me in at least the direction I want to go.

  33. Hey, that’s a good point – resolve not to… resolve! I like that. I am DOING what I want, working toward the weight I want to be but if I make a resolution, it will go by the wayside pretty fast. So I will join you – I HEREBY RESOLVE… NOT TO!

  34. What a good post, Karen! I’m with you!

    Another thing that comes to mind with “New Year’s Resolutions” is that you can resolve to do anything at anytime. You don’t have to wait until the new year. I’m like you, I haven’t made any formal resolutions, but I’m still working on myself just like you are–constantly working towards a healthier me.

    I hope your holidays were good! 🙂

  35. I don’t make them either. Talk about failure!

  36. sunnydaze

    I’m not that great with new years resolutions either but I still make them every year. Still striving to improve and it gives me hope.

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