It's tradition: for Christmas, you make gift lists, and for New Year's Eve you make New Year's resolutions. But it's okay if you didn't make one going into 2018. Because here's another tradition: New Year's resolutions are made to be broken.
New Year's resolutions are by far the least kept promises made. A survey conducted in the US recently reported that out of the 43% of Americans that made New Year's resolutions, only around 8% followed through. The pattern is pretty much the same all over the world, as far as anecdotal experience goes. Why don't people keep their resolutions? The simple answer is because they're pointless. Of course, we could be more specific than that:
"Resolution" Means No Room for Failure
The devil is in the details: 'resolution' implies that you've resolved or promised yourself to do something. Traditionally, that meant you'd rather die than fail to keep your vow, and that means no room for error or failure. And while New Year's resolutions have certainly lost the former connotation, it has certainly retained the "no error" aspect. And that's a massive problem because once you make a mistake and fail to keep it, it's broken. And what's the point of keeping a promise that's already compromised?
If you’ve resolved to cut down your weight for the next year but failed and gained a few pounds instead, then there's no need to try anymore. New Year's resolutions fail because they are unrealistic. They don't take into account that humans are prone to error, and not all goals set go fulfilled. All New Year's resolutions do is make people feel guilty. Why do you need that in your life?
That being said, if you have a goal that you want to be fulfilled, like, say, be more organised, you’re better off trying Strides: Habit Tracker than making a New Year’s resolution. Strides is an easy-to-use but useful app that enables you to track how much of your goal you’ve accomplished and gives you a tangible way of managing your daily tasks in tandem with your goals through stats.
Why Do You Need A Particular Date to Change Your Ways Anyway?
Why do you? If you're really resolved to do something, shouldn't you be able to start anytime? But no, most people only resolve to make a significant life change during New Year's day for some reason. As if there was some kind of magic or some unique thing that only comes during the beginning of the year that makes it easier for you to turn your life around.
Bottomline: if you need an excuse to change things in your life that you know you need to change, then you don't want to change. People who rely on New Year's resolutions to make a positive change in their lives just aren't motivated enough to make that change or are downright insincere. If you wish to cut down on how much you spend, then you don't need to wait for the New Year to come around to make that happen. Just make it a point to spend less, and do better in managing your budget/allowance.
Speaking of managing your finances, Mint is an excellent and intuitive spending tracker app that helps you manage your savings, your spending, budget and earnings in one place. It shows you how your cash is moving in real-time, and even allows syncing with all your accounts, including your 401(k) and retirement accounts.
And Even if You Were Sincere, Sincerity Wouldn't Cut It
100% of all New Year's resolutions are sincere and come from a good place. People genuinely want to start spending more time with their kids, start eating healthy, or bring their belt sizes down a few inches. Come New Year's Day, all of that is translated into resolutions that are broken most of the time a few days or weeks into the New Year.
Sincerity doesn't cut it. Most people see the pounds they gained over the holidays or think back to their mistakes over the past year, and experience a spark of motivation that would drive them towards their resolutions. But guess what: motivation is as momentary and fleeting. Once it's gone, so will be your drive to change yourself. Don't get me wrong: motivation is essential. But motivation can only bring you so far. If you want to change, take steps toward your goal and make those steps a habit.
If you’re intent on losing weight, you should know that prevention is better than cure. Monitoring how many calories you’re gaining over against calories you’re using up daily is a great way to keep the calories on your daily intake in check. That being said, MyFitnessPal is as hassle-free as calorie calculators go. It also has one of the most extensive calorie count databases, making tracking your weight gain a breeze.
Too Many People Commit to Change Dramatically – Overnight
As I mentioned earlier, there isn't anything special on January 1st that allows you to do a complete 180º on certain habits. But that doesn't seem to stop many people from committing to life-changing New Year's resolutions on New Year's Day. They resolve to go cold turkey on smoking. They swear to stay sober throughout the coming year. They promise to quit gambling, fix their eating habits, or spend more time with their families. And they fail, not because these are impossible to do, but rather because they commit to significant changes in a very limited frame of time, if not overnight.
Successful people are successful because they've developed good habits: waking up early every day, staying positive even when confronted with failure – these take persistence, repeated attempts, and time. You’ve heard that bad habits die hard, but that also goes for good habits. Why? Because they are actions that have been reinforced by time and practice. New Year’s resolutions fail because they suggest that you can magically turn your life around without taking the effort to form good habits and drop bad ones. If you’ve taken one too many cheat days in your diet, don’t let that frustrate you. Instead, seek to develop healthy eating habits and practice, regardless of how many setbacks you might experience.
Change takes time. Way of Life is an excellent tool if you want to commit to long-term changes in your lifestyle. Just input a habit or goal action, and tell the app whether it’s a habit that you need to gain or one you need to drop. It will then help you reinforce or quit that habit overtime by giving you daily reminders, as well as by plotting your data and achievements in trend lines and charts for reference.
January the 1st is Bad Day to Start Change
January 1 is a terrible day to start making good on your New Year's resolutions. Can we agree on just this one thing? First, if you're past the drinking age, then you're probably piss-drunk or hung over on this day along with everybody else. And even if you're not, you just got through a couple of weeks of feasting and fun with friends and family and stayed up past midnight to welcome the New Year. You're probably going to wake up late. You're probably wake up with a hangover. Your stomach had just finished expanding over the past few weeks after all the food you ate. And you choose this day – January 1 – to say "this is it; so long, old me!"?
Even if you do need an excuse to resolve yourself toward improving your grades over the next year, the first day after the holidays is the worst possible day to turn your life around. Habits take time to form, and you shouldn't let the frustration of having broken a flimsy New Year's resolution get in the way of that.
If you’re currently a student struggling with deadlines and a boatload of academic tasks, you should try My Study Life. This app helps you keep track of your daily schedule, and allows you to quickly note and keep track of homework deadlines, exams, etc. It’s specifically built for students and is one of the most convenient class schedule managers out there.
Simply put, it’s your habits that ultimately change you, not the things you say while you’re drunk on New Year’s Eve. That’s why you shouldn’t bother making New Year’s resolutions this year. Instead, commit to forming habits that will improve your life, your relationships, and your studies or career. That’s a far better way to start the year and change your life.