Are New Year’s Resolutions Overrated? Why Not?
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Are New Year’s Resolutions Overrated? Why Not?

Every year, the same debates spark around the idea of new year’s resolutions. Some people think it’s the perfect time to turn over a new leaf, while others point to studies that show the failure rate of these resolutions. Spoiler alert: most fail.

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New Year’s Resolutions Overrated

Every year, the same debates spark around the idea of new year’s resolutions. Some people think it’s the perfect time to turn over a new leaf, while others point to studies that show the failure rate of these resolutions. Spoiler alert: most fail.

But is there something to be said for new year’s resolutions that actually get people to change their lives for the better? Losing weight, quitting smoking, spending more time with family – these are all worthy goals, so why not encourage them as much as possible?

We asked some high achievers in the business world what they think of new year’s resolutions, whether they’re overrated, and what tips they can give to help make our resolutions stick this time around.

The Ideal Opportunity

The first type of person you may encounter is the new year’s optimist. They always believe the new year is a good omen for evolution. Sound like you, or someone you know?

“We coach people to level up in life with high-value skills and a commitment to excellence, so there’s no reason to downplay the power that a new year brings,” said Julie Harris, Co-CEO and Head of Coaching at Harris Real Estate University. “There is a ton of potential in a new calendar year, and it’s a blank slate that you can fill in however you want. Whether you turn your health around or take on a new career challenge, why not push yourself beyond your perceived limitations?”

Just by virtue of being a new month in a new year, January 1st simply makes sense as a time to dive into something new, according to the optimist school of thought.

“The end of the year is usually filled with travel, stress, and lots of tasty food that isn’t conducive to a healthy lifestyle,” said John Berry, CEO and Managing Partner at Berry Law. “We can let things slide a bit during this time, but when the new year arrives, it’s the perfect time to get back on track. In that sense, I don’t think resolutions are underrated. You can reflect on your shortcomings and map out a strategy for improvement. It’s the mature thing to do.”

Being an optimist is usually a good thing – within reason – so why not look at the bright side when the opportunity arises?

Doubters and Disbelievers

We’re in no position to downplay anyone’s resolutions, but stats and anecdotes don’t lie, either.

Not everyone feels that new year’s resolutions work, either due to their own experience or what they’ve observed in others over time.

“Unfortunately, the people who get the most hyped up about resolutions tend to be the ones who drop the ball within a few weeks or months,” said Brett Sohns, Founder of LifeGoal Investments. “This seems to be an issue of putting too much pressure on themselves to succeed, then stressing out when confronted with unexpected challenges. It’s good to hold ourselves to higher standards, but too much pressure can have the opposite effect and cause us to go back to square one.”

Truthfully, most top-performing business people just don’t buy into the new year’s hype at all, since they believe effort isn’t schedule-dependent.

“There are no magical properties to the first day of January that make it distinct from any other day of the calendar year,” said Ari Sherman, Co-Founder of evo hemp. “If we weren’t constantly plugged into technology and schedules all the time, nobody would even know or care! Remember this when you’re waiting until the end of the year to commit to a resolution. Why not just do it now and get a head start?”

If there’s one thing that entrepreneurs agree on, it’s that perfectionism is the enemy. New year’s resolutions often rest on a perfect plan or outcome, which just isn’t realistic.

“I have my doubts about the efficacy of new year’s resolutions, after watching friends and family members miss their targets year after year,” said Christopher Ager, Co-Founder of HomeBreeze. “In my view, if there’s something you really wish to change or achieve, you’ll ignore the arbitrary dates on the calendar and just dive in, even if the conditions aren’t perfect. Do you think celebrated artists or athletes wait for a certain time of year to pursue their dreams? It doesn’t make sense. Just go for it and ignore the small details that don’t ultimately matter.”

Make the Most of the New Year

For those who are eager for the new year to arrive, there are some ways to make sure the opportunity doesn’t slip past.

It shouldn’t be a surprise that a rock-solid plan is the foundation of it all, rather than fortune-cookie-style wishful thinking.

“Once you have established an understanding of why your resolution is important, the next step is to create a strategy and to identify the tools that will help you manifest what you want,” said Author and Speaker Tony Robbins. “Without a plan, your resolution will remain a pipe dream. To make your goal reality, put pen to paper. Commit yourself even further and write it down for yourself to review every day this year,”

A bit of rational optimism can go a long way, according to some leaders in the business world. There’s no denying that the new year offers a chance to reset, recharge, and get to work.

“If you’re going all-in on a new year’s plan, you might as well make it detailed and give it your best effort,” said Cody Candee, Founder and CEO of Bounce. “Set up a daily schedule if that helps, and self-audit to make sure you’re minimizing wasted time. Map out goals for each week and month, and reflect on what you did well or where you need improvement. Treat it as a serious project, because that’s what your life is! If we prioritize our well-being and personal goals as highly as our work and family responsibilities, we’d all be happier and healthier people.”

Knowing why resolutions fail is also a useful bit of insight. Reflect on past shortcomings and make adjustments so that they don’t repeat once again.

“Why do new year’s resolutions fail?” asked Author Catherine Pulsifer. “Mainly, because they are only a statement, or what we wish for in the coming year. There are usually no action plans, no deadlines, no backup plans. Sometimes they are unrealistic resolutions, with no other thought or plans besides the statement.”

Keeping the Commitment

The initial excitement of the new year fades within a few short days, so a strong underlying conviction needs to remain intact if your resolutions are to succeed.

“You don’t always need to do a 180 in life to have an effective resolution plan,” said Michel Mosse, Co-Founder and Head of Revenue at Hoist. “When we bite off more than we can chew, we usually set ourselves up for disappointment when we can’t follow through. Incremental progress is often the most sustainable and impactful long-term. Instead of aiming for a certain amount of money in your bank account or a specific weight loss goal, it’s smarter to change fundamental habits that lead to those results. That way, you’re not fixated on a number, and you won’t be angry at yourself if things don’t pan out perfectly.”

With so many resources at our fingertips, this may indeed be the best time in history to tackle ambitious resolutions. Just look at all the tech we can use to support our efforts.

“Use any type of technology or support system to keep your resolutions on track, whether you start in the new year or not,” said Amaury Kosman, CEO of Circular. “There are so many fantastic apps right on your phone that track habits and measure progress. This is especially useful in achieving physical goals. You can use wearable technology to monitor things like metabolism, sleep quality, and recovery. While you don’t want to be too reliant on technology to give you motivation or accountability, they can be a huge catalyst for improvement, regardless of when you choose to get started.”

Whether your goals are big or small, the key is to just keep going, even in the face of adversity and self-doubt.

“New year’s resolutions are not overrated, but most folks get discouraged at the slightest inconvenience and allow their whole plan to be derailed,” said Jesse Richardson, CEO of The Brothers Apothecary. “That’s why resolutions get a bad reputation - because they’re viewed as an all-or-nothing type of thing. That isn’t how life works, obviously! You’re going to have setbacks and slip up, but that doesn’t permit you to throw all your progress out the window. Be realistic and accept the loss, then get right back at it. The second you stop striving for perfection, you allow yourself to be an actual human and go after your goals without fear.”

Everyone has a unique take on new year’s resolutions, but the only opinion that matters is your own. Are you going to seize this opportunity to improve, or let it slide? We think the opportunity is too good to pass up.

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