Essays & Confessions

5 Things Not To Do When Setting Your 2018 New Year's Resolutions

By | Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Can you believe 2017 is almost in our rearview mirror? I know it’s Christmas and everything, but where did the year go?! It doesn’t feel that long ago when I was preparing for the arrival of 2017 and thinking about what I wanted to accomplish. What were some of the things you wanted to achieve this year?
What happened to your 2017 New Year’s Resolutions?
Just maybe…You wanted to read more. You wanted to be healthier in food choices and exercise more. You wanted to manage time better. You wanted to call and talk to your loved ones more. You wanted to be recognized for your work. You wanted to get that promotion, that car, that purse you were eyeing… you wanted to save more money. You wanted to pay off your debt. And the list goes on…
Here’s why I Failed to Meet My 2017 Resolutions
I know I failed to achieve most of my 2017 New Year’s resolutions. And it wasn’t because I didn’t work hard enough or didn’t set the right goals. There are some things that are fundamentally flawed in the way most of us go about setting goals. So, to help channel the end-of-the-year enthusiasm and energy into setting the right goals, here are ways to NOT go about setting your 2018 resolutions:

1. Treat your life as if it were a business  
In the business world, it’s all about the ROI and the end results and delivering results is always more important than using the right methods. But we are human, and as humans, our behaviors are fueled by our motivations. So, to maintain and sustain our motivations, methods are more important than the end goal. Stephen Guise of Mini Habits argues that by setting goals on very small and easy-to-do tasks, you are more likely to develop a habit. In the grand scheme of things, developing a good habit has more long-term benefits than meeting a transient goal.
2. Fixate on the goals that you’ve failed to accomplish year over year
I know I’ve been saying I want to lose 15 lbs since I was in my early 20’s. I’ve gotten close before, but I’ve never actually accomplished this goal. But year after year I find myself making the same resolution. And year after year, this goal just carries less and less importance because I know what happens when I don’t accomplish it: nothing.
3. Set goals that depend on others’ action or behavioral change
This approach is setting you up for failure because of 2 reasons. Number 1, you can influence people but you simply can’t change them unless they wanted to change. And secondly, if others’ actions are involved in meeting your goal, when things don’t work out, it’s too easy to shift the blame onto others and not feel accountable.

4. Set goals based on materialistic possession
It may feel like a milestone to be able to afford and pay for something grand, like a car, or a watch, or a designer handbag. But the truth is, it’s easier than ever to finance things, and setting purchase as goals is basically creating temptations for yourself to fall into the trap of “putting it on the card”. Additionally, we all know how fast the thrill of buying something fades so meeting a goal like this isn’t going to be very satisfying.
5. Have no plan on how to achieve the goals you’ve laid out
This is probably the quickest way to fail your goals. They do say goals without an action plan are just dreams. And we should certainly have the ability to dream, imagine the impossible, and picture accomplishing things beyond our immediate surroundings. But to achieve your goals you need tangible, track-able or measurable plans to make it happen. Let’s not deny you the pleasure of making your dream come true, and build specific plans to achieve your goals  


Now that we got all of my tips on how NOT to set your new year’s resolutions, I’d love to hear what goals you have for yourself. What are some of the goals you are going to set for yourself to achieve, and how are you going to achieve them?
Jessica is the writer behind personal style blog Cubicle Chic. In her early twenties, she has contemplated many career paths, such as a novelist, a physician assistant, a research scientist, a court translator (English to Mandarin Chinese), and a clinical research specialist. Eventually, she found her passion in marketing communications for life science companies. She continues to cultivate her interest and skills in many other fields, such as writing, career development, and self-improvement, and hopes to help others do the same. Follow her on Twitter here.

Image via Unsplash

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