Give Up the New Year Resolution: Be Honest with What Can Be Accomplished

New year`s resolutions typed on a vintage typewriter.

In a culture where being in the moment is heralded as the key to inner peace and joy, isn’t it curious that people tend to create a road map of resolutions for the New Year? The talk of losing weight, joining a gym, finding a relationship, and changing jobs are just some of the promises made to the self, the family and friends. How often do people actually follow through with resolutions?

Being Real About New Year's Resolutions

Edy Nathan MA, LCSW, gives an example of New Year resolution “fibs.” Let’s look at the statistics of gym memberships from January to March. Having bought their memberships in December, most newcomers arrive January 1, and by March most are out the door—never to be seen again. Though the intention is there, the follow-through is not. It is the follow-through from intention to integrity that ultimately creates a platform for success in the New Year.

Too often a year is left behind without much thought. To be successful in the New Year it’s helpful to understand the hurdles faced and the accomplishments made in the previous year. This creates a map for success in the new year.

5 Tools for Understanding Last Year

  1.  Make a list of all accomplishments made in the year.
  2. Are there any regrets? If so, what are they and is there anything that can be done to clean them up? If there is, then do what is needed to reverse the regret into regrowth.
  3. What was learned in the year?
  4. What is the truth about how prior resolutions were handled? After the resolutions were made, what actually occurred?
  5. Specify what changes were made that affected the mind, body, social interaction and work life. Did the shifts encourage life transitions or were they compressing?

5 Tools for Beginnings & Success in the New Year

  1. Be realistic about what can be achieved.
  2. Tell the truth about the goals desired.
  3. Create a calendar of what will be accomplished. Set up reminders about the dates, times and outcomes desired. This can be done on any of your mobile devices.
  4. Picture the desired outcome. See it, plan it and make it happen. When obstacles get in the way, be a spontaneous problem-solver. Paths can take many twists. That does not mean the ideal is dead. If one way does not work, try another.
  5. Push beyond the zone of comfort. If it’s comfortable, and it seems the goal is diminishing, find ways to re-energize. This includes bringing others into the creation of the goal. Remember: This is about your integrity.

And remember what Saint Bernard of Clairvaux said: “The road to hell is paved with good intentions.”


Edy Nathan

Edy Nathan, MA, LCSW is a licensed psychotherapist and certified sex therapist with over 20 years of experience in the field of grief and trauma. She is a certified EMDR practitioner, regression therapist, and certified hypnotherapist. Her formal training as a psychotherapist integrates with her views on trauma, abuse, and death.