Why New Year’s Resolutions Are Pointless


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On this day, the 28th day of 2021, Let’s review the year so far.

Have you abandoned you all your New Year’s resolutions yet?

Be honest.

If you haven’t yet, you will soon – I’m sure. Hang in there!

Resolutions are pointless anyway – they are merely phony goals.


Because we put too much emphasis on the declaration of change and not the actual action of change. Declaring that you will lose weight this year, for instance, turns out to be the actual achievement when we set new year’s resolutions. We look at our goals and feel proud of ourselves for setting them, even before achieving the actual work – which is harder to do.

Thus, goals are merely the willpower to delay gratification (override unwanted thoughts, feelings or impulses) in order to meet our long-term goals – which is very hard to do. Take the case of a smoker trying to quit or someone trying to lose weight. They try for a while, but the pain caused by the delay leads them back to where they started.

That is why 92% of us abandon our new year’s resolutions by the end of January – when reality finally sinks in.

Here is how to never set New Year’s resolutions again and fail:

A: Realize Life Is A Marathon

Every year we disembark to set goals to cross off on a list like writing a book or going on a month-long vacation. In reality, all the stuff that is worth living for is process-oriented – good health, wealth, relationships, spirituality, and happiness. These things cannot be crossed off a list. They never finish because you will live to strive for them until the day you are six feet under.

These things require an entirely different working system for achievement. After all, life is not a sprint, but a marathon. Rather than setting new year’s resolutions, try setting yourself up for a win by mastering the correct process that will produce the desired outcome.

Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe – Abraham Lincoln.

Learn more: How to Get the Best Value Financial Advice

B: Lead, Don’t Lag

So, let’s skip the New Year’s resolution this year. Instead, let’s strive to learn how the process works to achieve the most important objectives in our lives. That means, we lead our lives, not lag with goals.

What do I mean by this?

Lag means to fail to keep up. The new year’s resolutions (goals) we set are lag goals because they lag behind the efforts we put out today. This makes them harder to control and cannot be achieved instantly. Therefore, they are more like dreams or something you hope to achieve one day unless you really put in the effort.

Lag goals are things like earning a six-figure salary, writing a book and more.

What I am asking, is that you lead your life in the direction you want it to go with leading goals or objectives. These are smaller daily goals, that should ultimately drive you to your lag goals. They are easier to control and often become good habits. For instance, practising gratitude every day leads to better health, better thinking, better decisions and finally better outcomes. The effort you put in each day – today, tomorrow and every day that comes – allows you to actively achieve your lag goals.

For instance, to achieve your weight loss goal, you’ll realize you can only control two things: diet and exercise – unless you opt for cosmetic surgery that is. Recognizing learning to eat right or running every day is a system that substitutes knowledge for willpower.

Learn more: How to Set Effective Financial Goals You Can Actually Achieve

C: Three Things

Going forward, here are three things you need to incorporate into your life:

#1: Prepare yourself for a high-performance life

Take care of your mind and body. Everyday use visualization techniques to image positive life outcomes in everything you do, talk to yourself positively and adopt a good morning routine that will fire you up every day. This will condition your mind to react well under pressure.

Also, consider learning to each healthier – foods that will increase your energy levels – and stay hydrated throughout the day.

#2: Adopt high-performance habits

Let go of bad habits that are not serving you and seek out good habits. Whatever the outcome you are seeking, learn habits that will steer you on the path of your desired outcome. Then practice those habits and master them.

For instance, if you want to be more creative, adopt the habit of reading more to expand the scope of your mind. Non-fiction, in particular will broaden your horizon, help you develop new ideas and offer actionable advice.

#3: Build a high-performance system

A good system that you’ve mastered well will increase your chances of success. A system prepares you for opportunities that are yet to present themselves. It allows you to continuously upgrade and surpass every expectation you may have set for yourself. Thereby, moving you from a place of low odds of success to a place of high odds.

For instance, if your ultimate goal is to network more this year. A great place to start in building a network is building a system that will support that network i.e. effective communication from you. For instance, you’ll need to be a good listener – listening is central to communication and inevitably building a network.

If you practice listening in every conversation you have with people – no matter how big or small – and take note of their non-verbal cues, you’ll learn more and understand them better. With time, it will become a habit that pays off big dividends as the people around you will feel more valued – thereby allowing you to cultivate better personal and professional relationships.

You don’t rise to the level of you goals. You fall to the level of your systems – James Clear, Atomic Habits

Take Action

I sincerely hope that you take action this year. Break down those lag goals to create daily lead goals that will lead you to your desired outcome. If you do that, 2021 will be your best year yet – powerful, productive and purposeful. That is my intention for you but you have to be the one to follow through the three things to make it happen.

Happy Building!

Learn more: 10 Achievable Personal Financial Goals for The New Year

Image Credits: Top by freestocks.org via Pexels

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Irene Makanga
Irene has an MBA in Finance and is an avid businesswoman, passionate about financial literacy.


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