Historically, I have always been fond of setting resolutions. There is a certain sense of hope that comes with establishing goals for a new year. However, this hopefulness often fades a few months into the year when I struggle to maintain momentum or even remember my initial aspirations. Even as someone deeply invested in personal growth as a wellness editor and health coach, I have experienced the disappointment of failed resolutions year after year, a feeling shared by many others. Despite my inclination towards self-improvement and my constant dialogue on leading a healthier and happier life as part of my work, I have decided to bid adieu to new year’s resolutions.

New Year’s resolutions revolve around the concept of change – losing weight, exercising more, aiming for a promotion, saving money, and glorifying change can sometimes imply to your mind that you are not sufficient just as you are. We are all striving for increased self-love, but the balance between progressing towards personal growth and feeling inadequate in our current state is delicate. Moreover, statistics show that resolutions often fizzle out, with 80% failing by February according to U.S. News & World Report. This begs the question: why do well-intentioned resolutions frequently falter? Let’s explore why resolutions might not have resonated with you in past attempts and discover the alternatives.

New year, new me..? What’s so wrong with the old me!?”

In this article
1 Why is it so hard to stick to resolutions?
2 What to do instead of new year’s resolutions:

Why is it so hard to stick to resolutions?

The resolution isn’t actually the right one

Many times, the resolutions we set are not aligned with our true values. Do you genuinely desire to shed 20 pounds by summer, or is it a societal expectation that you feel compelled to fulfill to boost your confidence? Do you authentically aspire to obtain a graduate degree, or are you just uncertain about your next career move? Frequently, we establish resolutions that we believe will bring us happiness, success, or confidence, failing to realize that these qualities are not solely reliant on external achievements. Losing weight may not necessarily elevate your confidence, nor will a promotion automatically align you with your desired career path.

You’re not always in control of the outcomes

Even if your objectives stem from genuine desires, external factors often disrupt the best-laid plans. Resolutions centered on outcomes rather than intentions set you up for potential disappointment. For instance, if your goal is a raise by year-end, your company’s financial constraints may prevent this, despite your hard work. Similarly, if you prioritize your health and make conscientious choices but fall short of losing exactly 20 pounds by summer, you may perceive this as a failure instead of recognizing and celebrating the progress you have made and focusing on how you feel. Rather than formulating resolutions, consider dedicating 2024 to an overall journey towards increased happiness, well-being, and personal growth, acknowledging that growth is continuous and not confined to the beginning of a new year.

Set aside your list of resolutions and engage in these eight alternative actions:

“Maybe achieving ‘happiness’ isn’t about what we don’t have yet but what we already have that we need more of…”

What to do instead of new year’s resolutions:

1. Create a list of things you’re looking forward to this year

You have likely expressed the sentiment that “2024 will be my year,” but what makes it so? Document everything that excites you from now until 2025. Is there a friend’s wedding on the horizon, a significant anniversary, a pivotal life event, an academic milestone, or a joyous birthday celebration to anticipate? Consider the small joys as well, such as the return of your favorite TV show, a collection of books awaiting your attention, the changing seasons, or new recipes to experiment with. You do not need to wait until 2025 to realize that 2024 can be a year of fulfillment.

2. Record the lessons you learned in 2023

Whether in your professional life, relationships, life circumstances, or overall contentment and well-being, you have likely experienced considerable growth from where you were at this time last year. Reflecting on your current state compared to a year ago, or even a decade ago, underscores the progress you have achieved. Acknowledge the lessons you have assimilated and the personal development you are proud of. Instead of fixating on future achievements, take the time to celebrate how far you have come and recognize that you are more accomplished than you give yourself credit for.

3. Book a vacation

The transition into a new year need not solely revolve around change; it should also encompass celebration. Treat yourself to a getaway whenever feasible, whether it entails embarking on the European adventure you have always envisioned, enjoying a weekend retreat with close friends in a nearby city, or basking in a summer staycation with your significant other or sibling. Not only will a vacation provide a source of anticipation in the current year, but it also serves as a lasting reminder of the accomplishments you have attained in 2023.

4. Spend more time with loved ones

Instead of committing to new undertakings, dedicate time to cherish the relationships that already enrich your life. Make more frequent calls to your mother, schedule weekly coffee meetups with your confidante at work, arrange weekend brunches with your closest companion, enroll in a yoga class with your sibling, and reserve regular date nights with your partner. Perhaps the key to achieving “happiness” is less about striving for what we lack and more about appreciating what we already possess. This resolution is likely to endure and bring genuine fulfillment.

“Goal setting is important for growth, but what’s the point of making goals if we can’t feel happy once we reach them?”

5. Make a vision board

Resolutions tend to emphasize actions and tasks to be undertaken. Instead, focus on defining the person you aspire to be and the life you wish to lead. Craft a vision board depicting your aspirations, be it in your professional realm, romantic life, living environment, or with regard to your authentic self. The process need not be elaborate or time-consuming. Your vision board can be as simple as a list of overarching goals affixed to your fridge. Position the vision board in a prominent location for regular inspiration, updating it as your aspirations evolve. By centering on who you wish to become, the necessary actions will naturally follow. For additional guidance on manifesting your visions, explore The Everygirl Podcast episode featuring manifestation expert Roxie Nafousi.

6. Create a list of what you love about yourself and your life

Instead of fixating on change, recognize the inherent value you already possess. Compile a list of qualities you admire about yourself, analogous to writing a love letter to yourself: the smile inherited from your mother, the endurance of your legs during a lengthy run, your ability to find laughter amidst sorrow, or the diligent work ethic that would make your younger self proud. Additionally, document the positive aspects of your current existence. Are you closely bonded with your siblings, residing in a city you adore, or positioned in a career that fulfills your aspirations? While goal setting is integral for personal development, it is essential to find contentment throughout the journey, not solely upon reaching a predefined goal.

7. Set different themes for every month

Rather than committing to resolutions for an entire year, allocate distinctive themes to each month. For instance, dedicate January to incorporating more plant-based foods in your diet, focus on discovering enjoyable workout routines in February, prioritize financial planning in March to bolster savings, and immerse yourself in outdoor activities in April. Embracing a 30-day exploration of various intentions is more feasible and enjoyable than striving towards a single, year-long objective. The key is to establish intentions rather than rigid objectives, fostering a sense of accomplishment regardless of outcomes, while effecting substantial personal growth and transitions across multiple facets of life.

8. Choose a word or affirmation for the new year

Are you prepared to embark on significant transformations in 2024? Select a word or affirmation encapsulating the focus or vision you aim to embody throughout the year. Whether it is health, balance, happiness, self-love, gratitude, connection, or confidence, consistently remind yourself of this focal point and make decisions guided by it whenever feasible. For instance, when deliberating between a cozy night in or a social outing on a Friday evening, ponder which alternative aligns better with your aspiration for self-love. Similarly, when choosing between attending a workout class or opting for a rest day, contemplate which decision resonates more with your appreciation for your body. Identifying a theme for the year sets the stage for countless decisions that collectively contribute to achieving overarching goals. If affirmations resonate more with you, select one, inscribe it for daily reinforcement, post it on your mirror, and set it as your phone wallpaper to internalize the essence of your 2024 affirmation.


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