3 Reasons I’m Not Making a New Year’s Resolution

Check out at any commissary register lately and you’ll be bombarded with glossy magazine covers shouting plans for strategies to finally get fit, lose those last few niggly pounds, sculpt your best shape ever, learn to better please your man (or woman) in the new year, and any number of outward, superficial, may I even say near impossible to reach goals.

Peruse your social media for a hot second and you’ll be asked to claim your “word for the year,” join a support group, envision your bright financial future, and assess 2016 while reaching for what’s to come. We’ve seen it before; we’ll see it again–the typical navel gazing at the end of one year and the bright shiny promise of the new one coming.

Feeling pressure to set a New Year’s resolution for 2017? Ignore it!

Personally speaking, 2016 was a pretty good year for me—we became grandparents to a beautiful little girl (Want to see photos? Just ask!) and traveled to our second son’s wedding in Hawaii to welcome another wonderful daughter-in-law to the family. I published my first book and ran a half marathon. These were items definitely on my “bucket list” and I’m thankful to have experienced them.

For the sake of honesty, there were, of course, some challenges—I suffered a hip stress fracture which sidelined me for several months, dealt with the ache of missing our grown children who live thousands of miles from us, spent months alone over the course of multiple TDYs, and continued trying to embrace a military assignment in an area I’m not in love with.

I’m certain you could make your own list of highs and lows for 2016 and probably have a good idea of what you’d like to do differently in 2017. So, why all this fuss about not making a New Year’s resolution, you say?

I Don’t Need That Kind of Pressure

I’m already a pretty goal-oriented person. I make lists for my lists, take time each morning to go over weekly and even daily plans, and adjust said plans when life happens, which it tends to do pretty consistently.

Military spouses typically have a lot on their plates. Any given year will most likely bring a deployment, a move, a long-term school requiring a separation from our spouses, or all of the above. I find it kinder to myself to not also add external pressure with setting a difficult challenge at the beginning of a year.

They Don’t Often Work

Statistically speaking, that is. According to Psychology Today, less than 10% of all New Year’s resolutions are actually achieved. Those are some long odds. New Year’s resolutions are so popular though, with 40% of Americans setting one, it begs the question why they don’t work.

One of the biggest reasons is that people tend to make large, intangible goals vs. smaller, more realistic ones. If you’re still set on making a 2017 resolution, you may want to check out some of these strategies from Forbes:

  • Make it tangible (“I’ll give up sugar for 6 weeks”) instead of vague (“I want to lose some weight”)
  • Use a checklist, journal, or blog to keep yourself accountable
  • Expect that bumps in the road will come and make make specific plans to keep pressing on in spite of them.