Why I Fail at New Year’s Resolutions (& How 2018 Will Be Different)

As the hour chimed midnight and fireworks danced across the skies of Sydney Harbour, I sat on my favourite couch and eagerly Googled this term: New Year’s Resolutions. As a firm believer of “what will be will be”, I’m not one to dwell on resolutions. After a particularly tumultuous 2017, however, a confidence booster would have been most welcome. Google wasn’t there to deliver it though, in fact, it practically told me to place my NYRs where it belongs in the shredder, as only 8% of those who create them actually achieve their goals.

Granted, I’m supremely skilled (and I mean supremely) at never doing the things that I said I would, but a new year offers the perfect opportunity to gloss over past failings and look forward with fresh resolve. Here’s my top 3 insights into why NYRs fail so spectacularly, and how I’m going to be doing things differently in 2018.

1. Lack of clarity

This is what I consider to be the number one killer of NYRs. Have you ever had grand plans to kick-start the new year with a “new you” by vowing to exercise harder, eat healthier and focus on fostering better relationships, only to flounder before the ink is barely dry? Resolutions that are fluid and can be subject to multiple interpretations are doomed from the start. A more effective way of structuring such resolutions would be to have regard to the SMART way: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time-Bound. Running 5 miles per day for 3 days a week, or kicking the KFC bucket for good, would be a better bet in longevity.

2. Lack of motivation

Having the right mindset is paramount, but most of the time, motivation wanes when we view NYRs as a chore, a burden on our already laborious lives. So much of NYRs these days focus on doing what we should be doing, rather than what we inherently want to do, that ultimately drive us to despair. Forget what Kim Kardashian is flaunting on Instagram and check your envy when your best friend is basking under the Tuscan sun for what seems to be the umpteenth time. Life is not a race; at least not one where racing by someone else’s standards will serve any relevance or purpose. Focus on what fundamentally motivates and sustains us longer term will inevitably bring about a deeper sense of meaning and fulfilment.

3. Lack of support

Whilst it is somewhat easy to start a venture on our own, sustaining one when feeling lonesome is a perennial challenge. We quickly lose momentum and the motivation to track progress, celebrate success or reset the bar when goals become too easy. But we are never alone. Joining the WP community broadens our horizons and provides strength in numbers, which is why I’m counting on my WP extended family to be my witnesses in this journey. I will be holding myself accountable for my 2018 NYRs and hope to revert with an official stocktake before the year is out.

With all that’s been said and done, I doubt you would let me off the hook without sharing my NYRs for 2018. So here goes:

1. Reconnect with at least 1 old acquaintance.

2. Learn 2 new skills.

3. Try 3 new activities.

4. Explore 4 new countries: I’m hoping this will be a low hanging fruit, as I will be visiting Finland, Iceland and Switzerland in March. Any suggestions for the fourth?

5. Read 15 books.

6. Follow 20 bloggers on a regular basis.

7. Watch 30 films.

What are some of your New Year’s Resolutions? Any suggestions for travel destinations, books, films and bloggers are also welcome!

41 Comments Add yours

  1. Forestwood says:

    I was going to suggest Denmark as the fourth country, but I see another post of yours from there, so I will say Norway… .an incredibly spectacular country. If you loved the Eagle’s nest, you would love Norway’s West Coast.

  2. Jo Smith says:

    I like your resolutions! I also agree – it can be hard to keep NE’s resolutions. For the countries – have you ever been to Serbia? Belgrade (the capital) is very nice!

    1. Jolene says:

      Thanks Jo. I know so little about Serbia that it’s not even funny… Is that where you are from? Thanks for the suggestion! 🙂

      1. Jo Smith says:

        Yes I was born there and most of my family comes from there. I wrote a travel post about it if you’d like to know more about it: http://theinquisitivewriter.com/serbia/

      2. Jolene says:

        Thanks Jo, would love to check it out. 😊

  3. d i l i p says:

    I like those resolutions. Simple and doable, I guess. I have never been able to stick to resolutions. Year after year I fail, but again end up making new ones every new year. So for 2018, I decided to make only one – complete a Project 365, i.e., one photo a day for the entire year. Lemme hope I succeed. And belated New Year wishes to you.

    1. Jolene says:

      Hi Dilip, thank you for visiting my site and your lovely comment. Likewise, your initiative sounds totally doable and I wish you the best of luck! I tried this when I was travelling last year and it was heaps of fun. 🙂
      Happy new year to you too!

  4. fantastic resolutions!… I am now adding books to mine… (maybe not 15… I am going to go with 11… one per month and well I Jan is almost over…) HAPPY New year… (Sorry I am late getting over to your blog)

    1. Jolene says:

      Thanks ASH, I’m really hoping to hit some of those NYRs this year… Don’t be modest, I’m sure you’ll be able to do 15 books in no time. I know about your penchant for books with weird titles 😛

  5. I think this sounds like really good resolutions, I think you will be able to do these 😊👍

    1. Jolene says:

      Thank you for the encouragement!! Hope you have a great day. I loved your country by the way, Sognefjord was one of the best days of my life. 😉

      1. I’m glad you liked it. 🙂 Norway isn’t too bad 😉

  6. Len Kagami says:

    How about Sweden? Stockholm is a really beautiful city. Or Saint Petersburg? It is not far from Helsinki 😉 Belated happy New Year to you, Jolene! I hope all your resolutions will be done in this year 🙂

    1. Jolene says:

      Hey, happy new year. 🙂
      Stockholm is definitely pretty I agree, wish I had spent more time there. I think I would need to say goodbye to Europe for a while (after this one)! My travel budget is wearing thin and I need some cheapo destinations. Have you been Taiwan or Korea? Vietnam is of course another option, but I’m thinking whether I’m brave enough to go Vietnam alone.

      1. Len Kagami says:

        I can say it’s fairly safe to travel to Vietnam if you stick to the classic route. Just need to avoid risky action like riding a motorcycle or trying foods that look suspicious 😉
        I have been in Taiwan, but as part of a tour. The country itself are really nice, but the tour was not. So I don’t have much impression about the country. The Taiwanese are also very kind 🙂

  7. pinkmalemode says:

    I simply love your post about NYR – I have even written something on the subject. However, I’m impressed at how much thought you’ve put into it and how specific you got with your resolutions. I have done something slightly similar in this first week of the year: learn Chinese up to a basic level, follow 15 blogs regularly, use my blog on at least a weekly basis, run 1500km by my birthday, and keep my vegan diet/lifestyle. Not grand, not ambitious, but I think i can keep this, and I think you can keep yours as well. Looking forward to reading about how it goes in 2018 for you!

    1. Jolene says:

      Thanks for visiting and thanks for your note. It is great to hear yours and I’m sure those are also very realistic, specific and timely goals. As for the Chinese part, that’s right up my alley. 😊 Good luck!

  8. Jolene!♥️ It was a such realistic and refreshing post till date about the truth of NYRs I have never actually made any precisely because I make plenty in day to day life! Break them,scold myself and vow to stick them, sometimes I achieve this goal but mostly I don’t! Having said that they do keep me on track, life needs some guidelines anyway and they kind of help even if only in the form of stress for not being a disciplined person!!
    I love your NYRs, I intend to do some of the too. My best wishes. Take care friend ☺️

    1. Jolene says:

      No need to sweat over NYRs, we have plenty of stressful events in our lives as it is! The one thing which I didn’t write (which is my ultimate goal for 2018) is, funnily enough, to live more and care less. Hope life treats you well in 2018! 💕😊

      1. Hey that’s my all time resolution! We’re similar in some ways, I’m gradually getting to learn that! Yes and I hope the same for you😊😃 have a nice day!

  9. The universal panacea to self-awareness and emotional fulfillment: “Watch 30 films”. Have a great New Year!

    1. Jolene says:

      Haha, very well said, I couldn’t agree with you more Richard! Lovely new year to you too! 🙂
      Btw, did you move to a self-hosting platform? I tried to leave comments directly in WP but it wouldn’t let me do so!

      1. Thats odd Jolene; I have not changed platform and am getting regular comments. How dare WP block a sage like you?

      2. Jolene says:

        Yea definitely odd… 😂 at sage. Have a great day!

      3. Can you let me know if there is still a commenting issue Jolene and I’ll refer it to WP Support.

      4. Jolene says:

        Hey, I think it’s just when reading through the Reader in the WP App when I have issue. I think if we go through the proper browser there are no issues. It’s very odd though, I’ve only ever noticed that with sites that are on their own servers.

      5. Thanks for that report Jolene. This site is a regular WordPress hosted one; nice to hear from you again.

  10. Meher Gandhi says:

    This is a great post! Resolutions need to be specific and not just general ‘should be done’ things.
    This post is an eye-opener!

    1. Jolene says:

      Thank you Meher, happy New Year! 🙂

  11. Rachel McKee says:

    I agree that resolutions should be specific, that’s a great point. I didn’t make a single resolution this year.🙈 I can’t wait to read about your traveling adventures in 2018.

    1. Jolene says:

      Hey that’s the best resolution to have! You are assured of nil disappointments. 😉

      1. Rachel McKee says:

        Haha exactly Jolene!🤣

  12. Greetings from under the Tuscan sun. With this mindset you will do just fine. I can offer you Italy, my next blog to follow and films which I’ve seen and recommend on my blog every four months or so.

    1. Jolene says:

      Haha, thanks Manja for your referrals, I’d be sure to check it out. I fully felt the seductive powers of the Tuscan sun. My only takeaway is that – avoid Italy in July!! It was so parched that the fountains were switched off and my skin literally peeled off too…😂 Wishing you all the best for 2018.

      1. Oh yes, I’ve lived through five Julys already and this year’s was the worse. Such drought! I love to run away to Slovenia at that time. Summers are useless around here if you want to do tourism other than beach-whaling.

      2. Jolene says:

        Poor you! Sounds like the Tuscan sun can be quite a double edged sword 😂

  13. Getting a price of creative writing accepted as a submission to a book or blog 🖤

    1. Jolene says:

      That’s an excellent resolution, thank you for sharing! Best of luck and don’t give up!!

  14. I am no good at resolutions. So i prefer not keeping them. Instead, i keep small goals which i think is easier to achieve.
    And btw, nice post😀 sorta inspirational😜

    1. Jolene says:

      Thank you, happy New Year. Small goals are the way to go, it’s about celebrating all milestones (big or small) and ensuring we maintain the motivation to march forward. 🙂

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