Do New Year’s Resolutions Really Work?

More than anything, a New Year brings hope to everyone. Whether you had a good year or a bad year, there’s so much anticipation of what the next year will bring. You don’t know what’s going to happen and that’s exactly the reason why it’s so exciting.

Along with hope is the concept of having New Year’s resolutions every year. These are promises, ambitions, and maybe even dreams we aspire as we look forward into the coming year. But do these self-made proclamations really work? If so, how do they work? On the other hand, if not, then why do people still cling to a hope? As you get older, you slowly realize that things don’t turn out quite the way you planned it. I believe that a lot of these plans begin at the start of every new year. So, do these resolutions really work? Well, yes and no.


New Year’s Resolutions come in all shapes and sizes – losing weight, quitting cigarettes or alcohol, starting a new hobby, traveling to a foreign country, reading 50 books, and so on. I honestly believe that there are people out there who are really good in setting out goals for the year and actually achieving them. They have the dedication and the sheer will power to pursue what their set their mind to. I’m not just talking about the Michael Jordans or the Warren Buffets or the people you can find in Malcolm Gladwell’s Outliers. I’m pertaining to more personal experiences like your boss who said that finally he won’t be late ever again, your younger sister who really saved money for a year, your boyfriend who said he won’t cheat anymore, or even yourself when you said you were going to read more books than watch movies this year. These acts take a lot of sacrifice and hard work (though maybe not the boyfriend cheating part because that’s pretty much a given).

If you really think about it though, achieving a New Year’s resolution shouldn’t be all that difficult. You set it, work hard for a year, and then reap the benefits. It’s supposed to be easy as one two three. And that’s why we see people change over a course of a year. We see a 200 pound friend slim down to size 30 waistline in just a couple of months. It didn’t happen overnight. It probably took a lot of sacrifice to not get that extra steak during his mom’s birthday party.

It’s truly possible and we’ve all seen it.


At the other end of the spectrum, we also realize that, well, it’s pretty damn hard to set a year goal and actually see the results twelve months after. A whole year is pretty long if you think about it. A lot can change in your day-to-day schedule and we can forget the goal we’ve set at the beginning of the year. You may not notice it, but a year can fly by as quickly as the last one. It’s like you blink even for just a second and you wake up and realize you’ve just had a 3-hour nap. Old people say that life is fast and they’re exactly right. It just breezes past you. The moment you take a break from your goal, you might lose sight of it. This is also the reason why there are people who have the same New Resolution they had the previous year(s).

Aside from your own laziness and blindness, there are also distractions during the year. Take for example a friend of mine a year ago when he said he won’t eat McDonald’s for a whole year. Sounds great right? You know what I did? The next day I told him I’ll treat him to a burger and fries. Boom. Resolution over within two days. Sounds evil I know, but hey, I wanted to test the guy.

In most cases, I think people put a lot of pressure on the whole concept of doing a New Year’s resolution especially when they’re going to change a huge part of their life. Saying “Next year I won’t smoke anymore” will be such a big transition in your life that you bet on just because the numbers switched from 2013 into 2014. We all know it doesn’t work like that. It’s not a light switch you can just flick on or off. It takes time and a whole lot of effort.

The answer to “Do New Year’s Resolutions really work?” is in fact yes or no to various people. There are those who achieve success in the end and there are those who feel disappointed. On my next post, I’ll give a couple of tips on how to achieve a New Year’s resolution. They are just random tidbits to help people get through the year. Hope you keep reading!

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4 thoughts on “Do New Year’s Resolutions Really Work?

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