Don’t Set New Year’s Resolutions: A Hot Take on An Old Tradition

The holiday season can be so stressful. There are countless demands on time, emotions, and finances for those last few weeks of the year.

And if you’re like me, the stress doesn’t stop when the year ends because then come…the New Year’s Resolutions.

There’s so much pressure to turn your life around immediately, to set goals that you’ll stick to three, six, or twelve months from now. It feels like an impossible task, especially when life has this funny habit of throwing curveballs that you never expected.

So I’ve come up with a solution: don’t set New Year’s resolutions at all!

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not dismissing self improvement entirely. As a person, I’m always looking for ways to progress and become better. In my religion, we are reminded regularly to reflect, reset, and reconnect with the One who can help us reach our full potential.

It’s not the principle of “new year, new me” that I struggle with. It’s the expectation that goals set in January will remain relevant and achievable for the next twelve months of our lives.

So much can change in a few months, weeks, or even days! I’ve felt disappointed over and over again when I set resolutions and then, months later, my life changes so dramatically that those goals aren’t even possible anymore. And the subsequent feelings of disappointment and failure are zero fun.

But it doesn’t have to be this way!

Life is meant to be experienced day by day, moment to moment. We are constantly given opportunities to change, learn, and grow. Nothing about our lives is set in stone, and neither should our goals be.

So rather than lock in resolutions for the year, here are some alternatives for resetting and reconnecting in the new year:

Create a vision board

This idea is for my creative and visual gals! Your vision board can include images, words, or both – whatever works best for you. A vision board can help you get excited about the year’s possibilities, plus it’s pretty to look at and easy to display!

Here are some of my favorite Canva vision board templates that are totally FREE to use!

Winter Vision Board

Boho Vision Board

Minimalist Vision Board

Choose a meaningful word or quote to live by

This word or quote can be a good reminder for your focus this year. Keeping it in mind can add meaning to your experiences and help you get back on track toward becoming who you want to be this year.

Set dreams for fun things that align with your vision

Rather than setting goals, it’s fun to set dreams for the year. These dreams can be less stressful but still give you specific things to accomplish.

Do you want to connect more with your community? Attend 3 local theater performances or volunteer once a month at the food bank. Are you trying to save money while exploring? Sign up for a “free things in my area” newsletter and do one or two per month.

Take time to celebrate all you learned/accomplished last year

You have complete control over the narrative of your life. Recording memories, especially accomplishments, lessons learned, relationships, and favorite memories in a written or video journal will help you remember them.

Your life narrative will be more uplifting, your outlook for the future more positive. You’ll discover greater confidence in your ability to grow and overcome obstacles because you’ve taken the time to reflect on how far you’ve come.

Set bite-size goals each month or week

This is the most realistic way to set goals in my opinion. In 2023, I felt like I had to pivot on my dreams a hundred times. Within a couple months of making my 2023 resolutions, those goals were no longer applicable or feasible for me. So instead, I took time once a week (sometimes once a day) to reevaluate my vision and set my intention.

This exercise will allow you to flow with your changing circumstances. You’ll be giving yourself grace rather than sticking to a goal or schedule that no longer serves you.

Each new year is full of so much potential. It’s tempting to use that New Year energy to do a major overhaul of your life and set goals for where you want to end up in twelve months. But we aren’t machines and life is unpredictable.

Don’t set New Year’s resolutions for 2024; use this time instead to reflect on growth, set a focus for this year, and make adjustments frequently to fit your changing circumstances.

Which of these alternatives to setting resolutions do you want to try this year?

Additional Resources

Looking for a place to unwind after the holidays? Book a stay at the charming, relaxing Old Monterey Inn! Check out this post about my lovely stay there.

Is more travel on your bucket list for 2024? Let’s work together to make your travel dreams a reality (and take the stress of planning off your plate). Book a FREE discovery call with me today!

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