4 Minute Read

4 BS Things I’ve Heard This Year About New Year’s Resolutions

The New Year is here and everyone in leadership writing is talking about how resolutions are for the weak, for the suckers; essentially that only those who haven’t been around the block a time or two should bother with such juvenile pursuits. And it makes me hopping mad.

To me (and I would guess many others, being a global tradition and whatnot) resolutions are promises to myself and those close to me, professional and personal. Resolutions (that you intend to keep) are dreams grounded in reality and grit. I think resolutions are for the strong and those who want to be strong.

Let’s dig into some of the resolution BS I’ve seen just this week:

BS: “Good Leaders Don’t Need Resolutions.”

Resolutions are not a matter of need and making a promise to your future self (which is what a resolution IS) promotes accountability to yourself. Sharing that resolution with loved ones, employees, colleagues or a mentor, expands that accountability beyond yourself. Accountability and humility are two things that make an excellent leader.


BS: “Resolutions are broken every year. Why bother?”

The thinking behind this is that if you need an excuse (like New Year’s) to make a resolution, you probably won’t follow through with it. While it’s true that 92% ofpeople don’t keep their NY resolutions, that’s no reason to give up. Perhaps you made 10 resolutions last year but only kept 1 of them. That’s still one BETTER habit created this year than the year before! Assuming you will fail because everyone else has is natural but you don’t have to accept it. This year, invest in hope, even idealism.

Status: Choose hope, man.

BS: “Resolutions are for the weak.”

Yes, I read the blogs. I know there are entrepreneurs with 5 kids, who exercise daily, have built their company into a powerhouse overnight and still manage to read a classic a day while rubbing their spouse’s feet. Fabulous. These people are strong year-round and have magically kept every plate spinning and don’t need a resolution to make them a better FILL IN THE BLANK. I do. And I am anything but weak. Introspection does not make one weak; the assumption that you are at the pinnacle of your performance every day of the year and can’t use even a smidgen of improvement? I don’t want to be that person.

Status: No, YOU’RE the weak one!

BS: “Only make resolutions you can keep.”

Not to put too fine a point on it, but what’s the point of that?!? If you could keep it,you’d have done it ages ago. The point of RESOLVE, is that it’s stronger than your willpower, you rely on it more heavily than your normal instincts. If you only make those resolutions you can keep, you’ve effectively agreed to play chess with a 4-year old. Of course, you’re going to win…

Status: Not the worst idea if you’ve had a rough year…

Resolutions aren’t for everyone. I’ve had years where I didn’t feel the desire to resolve to do anything, but I hope I never become someone who discourages others from making promises to themselves or loved ones that could better their lives, health, happiness, career, money situation or relationships.

And don’t you do it either!