New Year's Resolutions: Why Any Resolution You Make is a Terrible Idea

Even before my family sat down for Christmas Eve dinner, the topic of New Year’s Eve plans weaved its way into the various conversations. Some excitedly discussed their plans, some still hadn’t made up their minds, one or two had back up plans and, well, I still had no idea how I was going to ring in 2013.

Now that the presents have been unwrapped and unwanted gifts have been exchanged, I am still a little unsure of what my New Year’s plans might entail. But I know one thing for certain – my plans, like every New Year’s in recent memory, do not include preparing a list of resolutions!

Sure, I used to make them. Before I was a teenager, my parents allowed my sisters and me to stay up and watch Dick Clark perform the countdown to the ball drop in Times Square. This once-a-year bed time extension meant the family had a few hours to fill with small talk — talk that inevitably led to discussions of lists of possible resolutions. Mine were often vague — be a better piano or violin player, be a faster swimmer, get better grades, be a nicer sister/daughter. But I don’t recall ever coming up with a plan as to how to actually accomplish those things. 

Later, when I was into my teenage years, New Year’s Eve became more about parties and ringing in the New Year with friends. If I was making resolutions then, I have no recollection of what they might have been. NYEs throughout my twenties and thirties were much the same and now that I am in my early 40’s, the no resolution trend continues. 

By most accounts, I am a hard working, industrious person. In my professional life, I do a lot of project-related work. I set goals, prepare action plans, budgets and time-lines, pivot (if needed), and conduct assessments upon completion. Yet to me, New Year’s Eve is a time to celebrate, not make lofty resolutions that don’t come with an outline, don’t have clear, actionable items, and don’t carry consequences if not carried out.

For example, I love coffee. When thinking back on some of my worst New Year’s Resolutions, I thought that resolving to quit drinking coffee would rank up there as a “worst” resolution. In fact, just the other day, I made a commitment to give up coffee for a day. I made this promise while I was in the middle of making a fresh pot. Needless to say, that promise went unfulfilled. 

So, as I continue to finalize my plans to ring in 2013, you can be assured that they do not include coming up with a list of resolutions. In my humble opinion, all NYE resolutions are “the worst.”