3 Ways To Make Better New Year’s Resolutions

It’s more than passé to say that New Years’ resolutions are cheesy and useless. Most people hate them, ultimately, because they never complete them — even thinking about resolutions calls up past failures, and the cognitive dissonance of failing at goals and wanting to make new ones is too much to bear.

And why do people never fulfill their resolutions? Because they suck at making the right ones. Just as water always runs downhill, humans will always take the path of least resistance without the proper plan and incentive structure, at least over a long time horizon like a year. Jefe recently told you how to reflect on how you’ve developed in the past year — In concert with that, here are three tips to help maximize your resolutions going forward:

 1. Make it actionable

You often see people make resolutions you know they will never accomplish, and the majority of the time it’s because the goal carries with it no reasonable plan of action. “I want to get better with my money” is a meandering goal without any implied path, and will soon be forgotten. Conversely, “I will read a personal finance book and create a budget” embeds the plan within the goal itself, and is much more likely to stick.

2. Make it quantifiable

This is another way of accomplishing the first tip. Roosh has written that having goals with numbers is not a sustainable path to fulfillment and happiness, and I agree with him. That said, tracking your progress on something helps you definitively cite your improvement. Instead of saying “I want to read more,” this year I said “I want to read 25 books.” The satisfaction of accomplishing numbered goals is not going to lead to eternal bliss (for what it’s worth, I’m going to fall about 3 short), but its utility in building the resume of your existence is undeniable.

3. Make it reasonable

Everybody knows the guys who set pie-in-the-sky goals. Take the “Resolutioners” at the gym—they know deep down that it’s irrational, but they act as if that they’re going to work off 20 years of neglect with 3 weeks of sets on the leg press machine. They inevitably fail and quit. Don’t overload yourself with expectations. Acknowledge that any type of self-improvement is a painstaking, stepwise process. Better to shoot for a 20% change and hit it than a 40% change and quit after a month. I’m not saying you shouldn’t “dream big” over the long term, but recognize that there are only so many hours in a day, and only so many days in a year.

New Year’s Resolutions, for most people, amount to little more than useless bullshit. Employ these tips to separate yourself. A year from now, you’ll be able to reflect proudly on what you’ve accomplished.

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16 thoughts on “3 Ways To Make Better New Year’s Resolutions”

  1. My biggest tip is don’t make “New Year’s Resolutions”
    Resolutions are just an excuse to procrastinate and placate oneself with a superficial pat on the back. If you want to do something different with you life then do it right now – don’t let a calender dictate when is the best time to improve yourself.
    I’ve never supported New Year’s resolutions. I DO support setting goals and self-improvement, but I feel that the wholesale bandwagon of using the 1st of the calender year as a crutch to set you off is just that; a crutch. People use devices like this all the time to be lazy, procrastinate, scapegoat, etc. There is always going to be a reason you can make up to not put in effort to improve your life right here and now – the primary inhibition of self-improvement is self control and discipline. Do it NOW. Fuck waiting until tomorrow.

    1. Quite correct. Ideally, your goals for the new year I believe should simply be achievable extensions of steps you’re ALREADY taking.
      Trying to randomly do something after waiting a long time just seems to daunting for the mind, and the quickest reaction is to shut down. It was almost just a joke anyway, to make you feel better that you had the desire to do something but never did.
      I believe the steps I’ve outlined on my own blog are the correct way to go:

  2. My New Year resolution for 2004 is:
    Jerk off three times each day. No exceptions!
    Some ask why… I ask why not!

      1. For a lot of he early 20-somethings in the ROK crowd, JO 3x a day back in ’04 was probably a pretty realistic scenario.

  3. New Year revolutions are basically a rubbish idea.
    January is generally such a shitty month that people need their creature comforts.
    If people want to make annual resolutions then make them in April.
    I “practice” my resolutions in November so I can at least be certain that they have some chance of actually working.

  4. Resolutions are for women so they can “feel” like they are doing something even though they actually are not.

  5. One of the thing that I’m aiming for is to improve my social skills. How can I quantify this? Any suggestions?

    1. Keep it simple.
      Be nice to people and in most cases they will be nice to you.
      Never be any more of a dickhead that you absolutely have to be.
      Keep asking yourself the question; “Would I date / want to be around someone like me?”

  6. There are two types of people: those that talk the talk and those that walk the walk. People who walk the walk sometimes talk the talk but most times they don’t talk at all, ’cause they walkin’.
    -Anthony Anderson as “Key”
    Hustle and Flow
    Stop talking about ur resolutions and goals and go out and get them done!

  7. The main problem with subscribing to New Year Resolutions is that if you fuck up, even a bit, you lose almost all of that motivation for a whole year. If the only way you can give yourself any motivation is by satisfying your OCD and you really are too pathetic to muster some get-up-and-go from nowhere, then go with New Monday Resolutions or New Half-Week Resolutions, because then you’ll be 52 or 104 times more motivated throughout the year. It’s still, however, lazy damage limitation and although better, you will still undoubtedly fail due to your lack of discipline and worthless superstition. Just get off your ass and do it now.

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