Happy end-of-resolution-day


Yesterday (Washington’s Birthday) was the last day any of us try to pretend we’re still working on our New Year’s Resolution – according to research I recently uncovered (i.e. made up).

Why is the gym parking lot empty?
Why are the sales of Oreos climbing?
Why did you stop trying?

Did you know that if you made a New Year’s Resolution, you were set up to lose? Do you know why? More importantly, do you know what to do about it?

New Year’s Resolutions are (mostly) fake! Think about it. Did one of these (or similar) happen to you last October?

Maybe you’re sitting at work and worried about your job. A certification might help. Should you start now or on the 1st of January?

Maybe you looked in the mirror. You’d like to fit in clothing the next size down. Should you start now or on the 1st of January?

Maybe you want to take a trip next summer. You want to learn French. Should you start now or on the 1st of January?

When you put off starting that resolution, you automatically program your brain to give it a low priority. Then, when the second, third and final weeks of January come around you lose you resolve because it was never really important to you.

In fact, here’s another statistic I’m not prepared to justify. More than 75% of resolution failures are explained as being beyond your control. Stuff like, “I had to work a lot of overtime” and “my daughter keeps bringing junk food into the house” and “my son broke the dumbells”. You get the idea.

Now you know why, but what do you do about it?

First – Be SMART.


Specific – don’t “lose weight” – lose 10 pounds
Measurable – don’t “fit into skinny jeans” – lose 2 inches on your waist
Attainable – certain amounts of weight loss may be unhealthy – make it something you can achieve
Realistic – losing 10 pounds is realistic – losing 100 may not be
Time-bound – set a date for your goal – finish writing that book in 12 months

Second – Avoid land-mines

In our house, we don’t have chocolate. We rarely have any sugar, no soda and we avoid certain fast-food options. We aren’t perfect, but we also don’t have chocolate “failure makers” planted around the house. Does it guarantee success? Probably not. But it helps, and it also avoids lapses.

Also, do things to help yourself. Take your own snacks to work.  Buy a refillable water bottle. Hang out at the library instead of the bar. You get the idea…

Third – Write it down

The goal has more power when it’s written down, committed to and shard with others. There is power in accountability. And having friends that won’t accept “it was the overtime” as an excuse gives you a better chance of success.

We’ve had our last holiday for a while. You next resolution goal should start as soon as you recognize the need. Take a look at what you want to accomplish, decide to do it NOW, write it down and commit to it. Otherwise, it’s just next year’s failed New Year’s Resolution, right?

The gym is all yours, if you want it…


  1. Dear Rob,

    It was with great interest that I’ve read your “Happy End-of-Resolution Day” post. Thank you for reminding us all to be SMARTer with our goal setting and with our future planning.

    Sometimes we are shocked into changing our habits and behaviors and this isn’t always a bad thing. For example, after a medical emergency (which I survived, thank you) I realized that I’d have to exercise more, eat better/cleaner food, and generally listen to my doctor’s advice. So my resolutions for 2012 were SMART-ly crafted and I also called upon a few friends to help hold me accountable.

    So to your suggestions, I’d add another ingredient. Go public with your resolutions and surround yourself with folks who’ll support you as you strive to got to the gym, shop more from the produce section of the grocery store, and/or celebrate with you as you “lose 27 lbs” and lower your resting heartrate by Y-percent, etc., etc., etc.

    Change only occurs when the pain you feel from NOT changing exceeds the pain related to the new habit or behavior. And if those pains become too persistent or severe, do call your doctor or 911.

    1. John,

      Good point about going public. Hopefully all of our goals don’t need quite a shock! I agree that no matter what your reason you can be more successful if you involve others as you suggest. Thanks!!

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