Why New Year’s Goals Don’t Work: Making An “Anti-Resolution”

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If you’ve read some of my blog already, you know that I’m a HUGE goal oriented person. I need a deadline, to be put under pressure so I get competitive and perform.

I feel that setting goals and having a dream is a very effective part of building wealth and maintaining a good financial footing. But that’s not what this post is about.

Surprisingly, I don’t really set New Year’s resolutions, but this year I’m changing that. I’m making an “anti-resolution” and I hope you join in too.

What’s an anti-resolution?

A normal resolution is when you make a list of things you feel should do, or that need to be accomplished for the next year. Then you vow to complete them.

Most of these resolutions include: losing weight, eating healthier, saving money, quitting an addiction and ect…of the 45% of people who start a resolution, only 8% are successful and 24% fail every resolution they make every year.

Instead of making a resolutions this year and failing, I’m vowing to make NO resolutions, at all. Zero. Zip. Nada.

Why resolutions don’t work

For a vast majority of us, resolutions are based on things we SHOULD do, not things we WANT to do.

Most of the time I feel guilty that I’m not active enough or that my diet isn’t very healthy, so I kick myself in the butt for a few weeks at the beginning of the year in hopes of changing it.

However, this method is set up for failure. Resolutions are subject to each person’s opinion. “Working out more” for me, could mean jogging everyday.

But for someone who works out for an hour a day, it could mean training for a triathlon. Basically, resolutions are not very specific and are thus, subject to each person’s own interpretation.

Goals vs resolutions

There is a difference between creating a goal and having a resolution. Goals normally have a timeline or deadline attached to them. They are more specific and are not subject to different people’s opinions.

Yes, sometimes they can be vague but not always. Resolutions are notoriously known for me being vague and they carry a stigma of something that needs to change.

Goals are something we set for ourselves and want to do.

We are not put under pressure at the beginning of the year to create a goal, just because everyone else is, like we are with resolutions.

Forming new habits

Another reason resolutions are set up for failure, is because they are often habits that need to be changed. Habits are hard to break, and take time to successfully change.

There needs to be motivation for breaking a habit, and a better habit to take it’s place. If I want to “eat healthier” I have to replace my bad eating with good eating. I can’t just stop eating bad food, without replacing it better eating (I’d starve to death!).

Goals vs to-do lists

Now, let’s take this one step further.

Instead of turning your resolution into a goal, turn it into a to-do list.

Make it part of your everyday list of errands and to-do’s. Normally when you write a to-do list, it’s very specific. No one writes a list that says “run errands”.

Instead we write “go grocery shopping” or “refill the gas tank” and things of that nature. A list of to-do’s is always specific and needs to be completed within a short time frame.

Let’s rock out this year

So for this year I challenge you! To join me in making an “anti-resolution” resolution.

There will be no obligations, interpretations or vague to-do lists. There will only be SUCCESS or FAILURE. Nothing more and nothing less. There will be no try, there will be only do.

I’m not going to make goals or resolutions for myself unless I want to do them. Unless I am whole-heartedly going to do my best to achieve them. To break the cycle of failing we have to take action. No more excuses. Now is the time to set my fear of failure aside, and go for it!

What do you think, will you join me?


  1. Daisy says:

    I’m so with you. I made goals, not resolutions, for 2012. Resolutions don’t really do it for me, but goals give me something to work toward. 

  2. I’m with you on this! Finishing up my goals right now, and I feel like they’re pretty solid and doable. I’m totally down with creating a list and just breaking down goals incrementally to give me a better chance at success and less of a chance of being overwhelmed. I’m thinking I need monthly goals and evaluations to really stay on target.

    • Oh yes, I was reading the Minting Nickels blog and she is doing quarterly goals. I like the idea of keeping monthly goals, as well as quarterly goals and overall yearly goals. I have to be careful not to micro-manage everything though. Lol I’m keeping my OCD in check 🙂

  3. Shannyn says:

    Well I made resolutions I was excited to keep with the understanding that even if I fail in the long term ones I’d still be happy with the progress.  This year I’m eating a lot healthier and I’m feeling better about it and wouldn’t punish myself for backsliding a bit.  The rest of my resolutions revolve around fun new things to try- sometimes that’s more manageable than trying to change lifelong habits all at once!  For instance, I’m making it a resolution to try Ethiopian food, learn photography and work on my book… bow chika wow wow!  

    Loved this post- it’s  totally empowering for people who feel disempowered by the pressure to make resolutions, I loved it!

    • I’m glad you liked the post! And I agree with you, any progress is better than no progress. You’ve incorporated some resolutions that are fun and you want to do. That’s awesome, and I think you will accomplish a good deal of them.

  4. Lindy Mint says:

    I’m down with the anti-resolutions!

    Last year I was new to blogging and read a lot of bloggers’ end of year goal check-ins. It was comical how many of them had only 50% success rates, often citing how one item or another became less of a priority, or how they fell off the wagon and didn’t get back on.

    That’s one of the biggest reasons I didn’t set goals in 2011. I didn’t want to add to the failure.

    This year my goals are definitely more on the to-do list side. I was slightly embarrassed about how non-goalish they are, but like you, I wanted to guarantee achievement.

    • I don’t want to add to the failure either, although I could stand to create more ambitious goals since I’m a little too timid. I also have a problem with being an over-achiever and could drive myself nuts. But that’s another story. Lol

      To-lists are definitely more my style, and I love goals. Especially if I want to guarantee the achievement. Cheers to us in 2012!

  5. Twintalk2 says:

    You have to have a plan to achieve a goal or a resolution.  A wonderful idea is just a wonderful idea until some on moves the boxes.  The world is full of wonderful ideas, but they don’t happen without someone doing the work.

  6. Here are my goals for 2012:
    – Accumulate at least $40,000 for investments during 2012, beginning  2013.
    – Create feasible plan 10 year and review the priorities.
    – Diversify the nest egg.
    – Think about additional source of income.

    – Regular monthly updates
    – To cover  6 themes
    have no intentions to move towards an entertaining blog with 2-3 weekly
    posts.   I will endeavor my best efforts to stay on personal subject of
    financial independence.  

    –  Create list of books to read  & read them- 12 books in minimum.
    –  Publish reviews.
    – Have solid understanding of mutual funds and energy sector stocks.

    Family Budget:
    – Stay under $75,000 with the family expenses
    – Accumulate $7,000 towards durable goods replacement over 10 years.

    Be happy.

    • I too am planning to read more books and post reviews. At first I was going to only read 6 books but now I’m really enjoying reading more and plan to add to my list. I think separating your goals into sections will really help you achieve them. Love that idea.

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