To resolve or not to resolve, that is the question.

Many years ago I made my very last New Year’s Resolution. Surprisingly I have actually stuck to it. You may be thinking it was to lose weight, be a better husband or father, be kinder to animals, or donate more to charity. While all of those are great, my resolution was to never make resolutions again. What got me started down this path was when I joined a gym. Believe it or not, I joined in the middle of the year, but then found myself very frustrated around January 2nd when there were no places to park and the machines that I always used were taken by all the people who joined because of their New Year’s Resolutions. Only to find that by Valentine’s Day everything was back to normal for the most part, with a few newbies who stuck to it. A light went off and I realized that in many respects I was doing the same thing; making resolutions with no plan and watching them fall short. According to I am not alone in that. Here is what their research has found:


Percent of Americans who usually make New Year’s Resolutions 45 %
Percent of Americans who infrequently make New Year’s Resolutions 17 %
Percent of Americans who absolutely never make New Year’s Resolutions 38 %
Percent of people who are successful in achieving their resolution 8 %
Percent who have infrequent success 49 %
Percent who never succeed and fail on their resolution each year 24 %
People who explicitly make resolutions are 10 times more likely to attain their goals than people who don’t explicitly make resolutions.


So now, instead of making New Year’s Resolutions, what I do is set some goals for myself for the coming months or year. What is the difference you ask? It is fairly subtle, but the goals I set have specific measurable outcomes, a defined period of time in which to complete them, and a defined plan on how to get there. For example, if you wanted to lose weight (one of the most common, if not the most common resolution), you define the goal with a time period, say that by April 1st, and add a measureable outcome, to lose 15 pounds, and lastly, define a plan on how to get there, say by reducing my fat intake, eliminating processed sugars, exercising a minimum of 3 days a week, and limiting breads and pastas to 2 days a week. Just losing weight is a nebulous concept and much harder to achieve without a specific time period and a plan. I have found that this process has taken my New Year’s Resolutions and turned them into achievable goals.


As we head into 2017, stop and take some time to review the past year. Celebrate the victories and what you have achieved and then take a look at the things that either didn’t go so well or that you want to change and come up with a plan to do that. If you continue to make resolutions that fall short, give yourself a pass – it’s a new year and a new opportunity. That being said, if you’re going to set a New Year’s Resolution this year, and you want your efforts to be more successful, get it right by making a plan. Make sure that your goals are measurable, attainable, and realistic.


Goals are not just for business or school either, set at least one personal goal, too. My personal goal for 2016 was to play golf at least once per month in the warm months. I missed 2 months but played more than I had in previous years, so I would consider that a moderate success.


As 2017 creeps closer, I have started trying to figure out what my goals will be for the new year. I am happy to take suggestions, so if you have any good ones please send them my way to Regardless of whether or not you set goals or make resolutions, I wish you a fantastic 2017 filled with many successes.