Failed New Year’s Resolutions Don’t Make You a Failure

New Year's resolutions reality

Anyone who knows me well knows that my favourite of all the holidays in the year is New Years.

Christmas, I could really take or leave: it has an interminable, commercially-driven lead-up that starts the moment Halloween ends; holiday travel is utterly wretched, as I lamented in my last post, and I don’t much care for Christmas carols (for all that my one and only successful songwriting attempt resulted in a modern Christmas song).

But once all the hoopla and mayhem of December 25 is passed, the sixth day after the fact is one I look forward to with excitement.

Now, I’ve never been to a swanky New Year’s Eve bash….

I’ve never rung in January 1 with champagne, a sparkly gown, and a kiss from a charismatic stranger at midnight.

The one time visited I New York City to spend New Years in Time Square, I was so many streets back from the action, the TV back at my accommodations offered the best view of ball dropping.

And yet, sexy celebration or not, I still love New Year’s, for I love new beginnings.

I love both the literal concept of things that repeat and continually start again, and the larger symbolic of notion of starting over.  For to start again is to have the opportunity to do better this time around.

Depending upon how big the do-over, starting over can represent an opportunity to change your whole live.

Happy New You

The New Year is a prominent starting point for a life change.

Like most people, I’ve made some wrong turns in the past.  I don’t have all the answers for my life: I don’t know all of what the future holds for me, or where I’ll end up, or even exactly where I want to end up.

My life is very much a work in progress, at times, an act of trial and error to determine what will stick.  Like most people, sometimes, I come up against dead ends.

At other times, like most people, I want to tackle a new challenge or take on a new project.

Many people find New Year’s resolutions intimidating, but I have a good record of success with them – everything from losing weight to reading more books to learning how to use Twitter.

But even for those who sometimes falter in carrying their resolutions through to the end of the year, I encourage you to continue to making them anyway.

Because, in the long run, failed resolutions will help you succeed.


Viva la resolution

There are many steps involved in making a life change.  Part of it involves setting a goal, the steps for which I discussed at New Year’s last year.

However, even before a goal is set, the desire to change has to take hold in one’s mind.

This is where New Year’s resolutions are useful.

Even when a resolution isn’t fulfilled, just the act of declaring it – whether aloud or to oneself – is valuable practice in getting the idea of change in one’s head.  So too is the month or two of actual work the often precedes a lapsed resolution.

Especially with a big change, it might take a few tries to make it happen.  There’s no shame in that.  Rather than feel guilty for letting a New Year’s resolution drop, view it as change training, or a dress rehearsal in your new life.

According to social science writer Malcolm Gladwell, it takes 10,000 hours to attain mastery at a task.  That’s 1.14 years of daily effort.  But there’s nothing that says all progress on a life change needs to be made all at in one go.

Take your time; pace yourself if you need to.

Meanwhile, for those who manage to knock their resolutions out of the park year after New Year, keep it up.  There will always be new challenges to conquer.

And for everyone: whether you’re achieving your New Year’s resolutions in their given year or not, there’s always a new beginning right around the corner:

The promise that every day is a new day.

Every day is a new day


Happy New Year, everyone!  What resolutions (if any) are you making for 2014?

(Image source #1 and #2)

6 thoughts on “Failed New Year’s Resolutions Don’t Make You a Failure

    • I’m a lister too of smaller tasks, and like to resolve to a few big things for the year as well. I’ll be rolling over a couple of last year’s resolutions to this year as well. Life’s too short to let feelings of failure you down; just pick yourself up and keep moving forward.


  1. I only have one goal this year, and that is to complete my current writing projects (well, at least a first draft of the novel-length piece). It always seems like something else is filling the time I should be writing.


    • I hear you there. I have that same goal for 2014 as well … and I don’t want to take the whole year to do it, either. I was supposed to finish my WIP last year. I want to figure out the outline for my next novel as well.

      We should also resolve to do that point-by-point blog post at some point. 🙂


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