Why I don’t do New Year’s Resolutions

The principle "If something is worth doing, it is worth doing now" holds true everywhere. This summer when we thought that It'd be cool to bike the longest trail in Estonia, we immediately set the week to do that.

The principle “If something is worth doing, it is worth doing now” holds true everywhere. This summer when we thought that It’d be cool to bike the longest trail in Estonia, we immediately set the exact time to do that..

The best time to plant a tree is twenty years ago. The second best time is Now. Chinese Proverb.

A friend asked me a few days ago: So what are your New Years resolutions for this year. Well, I don’t have any. Why not? Because I’m already doing the things I want me to do.

This does not mean that I don’t have any vices. I do. For example, I eat large quantities of chocolate (dark, exclusively). I do have a few drinks every once in a while. And I skip stretching every fourth or fifth time I go skiing, cycling or running. I’m a coffee addict. But I’m fine with these habits. For now, at least.

The reason I don’t do New Years Resolutions is much more blunt: I’ve always had the principle in life that if something is worth doing, it is worth doing now. So if there’s a habit I want to create or break, I start it from the very same moment that the thought crosses my mind and I make a conscious decision to do that. There’s really no reason to wait for the New Year or new month or my Xth birthday to make that change. Remember, the best time to break that bad habit was twenty years ago, but the next best time is right now.

...and that is how you make things to remember

…and that is how you make things to remember

This attitude increases the success ratio significantly. The main reason is that you have the most motivation at this very moment, not next week, month or a year. If you start now, then by the time you have second thoughts, you already have a little bit of history with the new habit. That history (even if a short one) will be a big help to push through those difficult times when they come. And they certainly will.

You won’t have this kind of additional boost with your New Years Resolution. In fact, does it really make sense to start creating a new positive habit on the day when the chances are that you sleep through midday and might  wake up with a little headache?

So, dear reader. I challenge you here – what’s the one thing that you want to change in you? Why not start it immediately, right now, at the very moment? Yes we can! (and not in the US 2008 way)

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2 thoughts on “Why I don’t do New Year’s Resolutions

  1. Agree. I had few goals for 2013 and I started them almost immediately after setting those (which was about 1 week before 2013).

    There’s one approach I use – I generally postpone starting my goals for few days. It’s easy to get all hyped up and ready to go but I want to analyze my goals in “cold” state as well. In hyped up state (right after nice meal and 5 coffees) seems reasonable to start training 10 times per week. In cold state, I turn it down a notch (e.g. training 3 times per week). It makes my goals more attainable and I can make sure that I don’t take energy away from goals that matter.

    • I agree.

      In addition I’d point out that I do have goals for each year and I truly believe in setting goals. For example, I’ve had the goal of visiting 5 new countries each year for several years already and I’ve reached that almost every year. I do have other goals too so perhaps I’ll write a blog post on them soon.

      However, behavior and habit change are so much more challenging for most of the people than achieving a specific goal. Quitting smoking (a habit change) is actually harder than skiing a marathon (one-off goal).

      So if you want to quit smoking or stop drinking sugary drinks, do it right now. Empty that half-full (obviously not half-empty) Coke bottle into your sink and there’s your quick start on that! On the other hand, if you want to run a marathon, it makes a whole lot of sense to set a specific date as a goal to do it. In fact, it is even more powerful if you register to that marathon right now. 🙂

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