No Year's Resolutions

I’m not making any New Year’s resolutions for 2011 and you shouldn’t either. No, we’re not already perfect, I’m simply taking issue with New Year’s resolutions as a concept.

Why They Don’t Work
Most resolutions fall into one of two categories, they’re either overly vague (I’m going to get fit in 2011!) or unrealistically rigid (I’m cutting out all grains and simple sugars for 2011!). These types of resolutions are problematic because they don’t hold you accountable and/or they set you up to fail (which can sometimes be a good thing, but not in this case).

Even “better” resolutions (I’m going to exercise at least three times a week in 2011!) are still useless. Why? Because the calendar is just something WE MADE UP.

We made it up so we can know to meet at a certain time on a certain day and keep track of history to the best of our abilities (and it’s very helpful for those things) but it’s not real. Days and months and years are based on the actual cycle of the planets and stars, yes, but we made up the details.

What You Can Do
Every day is just a day, but it’s also a new opportunity, regardless of whether it’s January 1st or December 27th. It doesn’t make a difference when you start making changes in your life. Your body reacts to the signals you give it every single day, so stop waiting for things to fall into place and start taking action today.

For those of you who may be new to fitness, remember to ease in slowly and be patient. Those of us working out every day and/or following healthy eating plans didn’t make drastic changes overnight.

Setting idealistic (unrealistic) goals is a waste of time. Focus on the process and take it step by step instead of looking ahead an entire year. The next 365 days will likely go by even quicker than the last, but if you set your sights on taking it one day at a time, you may be surprised by what the future brings.

20 thoughts on “No Year's Resolutions

  • By Anonymous -

    Great advice, Al (as always). Thanks for a great year of blogging, boot camping, and training!

    • By Al Kavadlo -

      You’re welcome, Jeff! Keep up the good work!

  • By Mattman -

    Yay! Another person who doesn’t like new years resolutions 😀
    You should read my post on them in the “All Things Health” group 🙂
    Though it’s not the same angle as you’ve taken in this post lol.

    Good read, as always Al 🙂

    • By Al Kavadlo -

      Thanks, Matt!

  • By John -

    Jeff’s comment was perfect. Thank you Al.

    • By Al Kavadlo -

      Thank YOU, John!

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  • By Eddie -

    one day is all we have, one day is all we need, one day at a time, great post Al!

    • By Al Kavadlo -

      Thanks, Eddie. Well said!

  • By Kartik -

    Ah, goes along with a saying I love, “perfection is failure for better.”

    • By Al Kavadlo -

      I haven’t heard that one before, Kartik.

  • By Ajcurly -

    The question is… do we get into a mindset like yours and mine? The greater majority of people do not already think like you and me. Taking it day by day is great advice but how to get there is still the question. It took me, for example, to admit to myself (after years of doing and studying health and exercise) that being healthy is not just a good thing but a necessity to live a high quality life. Once I realized that health is the only thing that we have 100% control over, I learned this mindset. So, how did you reach this mindset, Al? Also, I have enjoyed your blog over the last year and look forward to 2011, great job!

    • By Al Kavadlo -

      Thanks, AJ!

      Like yourself, I’ve come to these conclusions based on my own personal experiences – both good and bad – as well as what I have observed in others.

      As for how to get people into the proper mindset, you can start by forwarding them this blog post!

  • By Nelly -

    I’m pretty torn on this issue. I’m in complete accord with the avoidance of both overly vague and overreaching goals, but I also feel like having something that you’re working for or towards is important. The journey isn’t completely about getting there – it wouldn’t be a journey if there weren’t some kind of a destination in mind, as well.

    Holly over at just posted a bit on the same topic (“resolutions” are bad, but she made “will-dos”. I’m still up in the air, but you both have some awesome things to say that will hopefully help me figure it out 🙂

    • By Al Kavadlo -

      Thanks for your comment, Nelly. I think it’s okay to have an objective if it helps you to stay focused, but it’s the little day-to-day things that matter. Goals are a fantasy, the process is what’s real. I discuss this concept more in depth in my book.

  • By Rhoda -

    A goal is more likely to be accomplished if it is written down. It cements it a little better in your mind, I think.
    I have started to work myself out of the “I’ll start on Monday” process. What makes Monday any better than Wednesday? Maybe, setting the goal and then breaking it down into small steps would help with the process that needs to happen day to day? 🙂

    • By Al Kavadlo -

      Writing something down can be a helpful reminder, but there is never a better time to take action than the present.

  • By Kane Augustus -

    I agree with you that making resolutions is unessential, sometimes even unhelpful. I generally don’t make them, and haven’t since I was roughly 10 years old (I’m 36 now). The reason for that is that I found that, for myself, if I talked about them and charted out plans concerning them, I would spend all my energy making intentions and goals, and then have no enthusiasm left over for actuall accomplishing them.

    This year, I have not made resolutions so much as I have expressed a forward-moving plan for things I’ve been hoping to achieve for years. And since I’m already doing some of these things — at least in part — I have no compunctions about being able to do more with them this year.

    I enjoy your site, Al. I visit it often. Thank you for your tips and explorations; they are invaluable.


    • By Al Kavadlo -

      Thanks for your comment, Kane. I really like this part: “I would spend all my energy making intentions and goals, and then have no enthusiasm left over for actually accomplishing them.” I hoped to express that concept in this blog post but I’m not sure if I did – you hit the nail on the head!

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