Why New Year’s Resolutions Are Stupid + My Challenge

I don’t want to be a buzz kill nor do I want to bring anyone’s hopes down. I do however have a serious problem with telling the truth. The truth is that most people do not follow their New Year’s resolution for more than a month.

Instead of asking everyone¬† for what their New Year’s resolution is this year, I wanted to share with you my opinion on the topic.

Why I find that New Year’s resolutions are useless.

Most New Year resolutions are False hope.

I’ve noticed that people love to alleviate guilt by promising themselves some ridiculous and unattainable amount of success as a resolution. I have heard big spenders talk about eliminating all of their debt as a resolution. I’ve had friends tell me that they’ll never use their student credit card again. I’ve hear it all.

In my opinion, I think that a New Years resolution creates a serious false sense of hope.

It feels good to have something to look forward to. Whenever I spend money foolishly I create a false sense of hope by telling myself I’ll offset my financial mistakes by earning more money with my blog. This doesn’t exactly work out. I need to address the core of the problem instead of creating hopeful unrelated solutions.

Resolutions are a waste of money.

My old gym was always empty. I once asked the manager how the place is still open. He simply told me that the gym’s profitability isn’t dependent on who comes to the gym. The survival of a gym depends on those that pay for their gym membership.

I have noticed over the years that January is the busiest time of the year in the gym. There is just a plethora of newbies dropping weights, leaving weights on, not wiping after themselves, and being flat out ignorant to the gym etiquette. After a month, most of these people are long gone. Their ONE YEAR gym membership offer has either already been paid for in full or is being charged to their account monthly.

A gym membership is by no means a waste of money. Not using your gym membership is the waste.

Slow and steady wins the race.

When in doubt always take the next small step. You don’t need to go searching for New Year resolution ideas. Anyone can eliminate their credit card debt. Anyone can figure out how the stock market works.

Why do we feel the need to create some sort of a “big bang” at the beginning of the year? The key concept that we forget is that it took us many years to get to the point we’re presently at. One day or a beginning of a year won’t change years of neglect. You can drastically improve your situation by making a conscious decision to change. Just don’t expect to solve all of your problems on the 1st of January or on any one day.

Why wait?

Seriously what does January 1st mean? Why don’t you start working out TODAY? Why wait to quit smoking?

I am 100% guilty of this. I alleviate guilt and feel good about myself when I plan to start an exciting new challenge in the near future. The last few years I have been working on kicking myself in the rear end.

It took me forever to launch Studenomics. I was writing articles on my computer for months (which also took the longest time to start). I was going to do a “mega launch” and go all out for it. Then one Friday afternoon I was planning my evening and it hit me that I will never get anything done if I keep on delaying things. That afternoon I read through articles on how to start a blog, chose the first decent looking theme I saw, and Studenomics came into existence. The exact date was November 7th. Nothing glamorous about the day but that’s irrelevant because nobody cares about the actual day that it started.

Can you all please do me a personal favor? Don’t wait to start something. Do it right now. When you do please leave a comment here to share your experience with us.

I am challenging all of you to do something you’ve always wanted to do, RIGHT NOW. You don’t need a New Year’s resolution to tell you what to do.


  1. says

    I agree with Slow and Steady wins the race. So many New Year’s Resolution revolve around weight, and people adopt ridiculous plans to lose those pounds. Going to the gym everyday, cutting carbs completely, running a mile every day. While it might be nice to accomplish those things, setting too high of a standard will set you on the track to quitting.

    An obtainable plan of action needs to be adopted that is incremented only when you are comfortable. Go to the gym 2-3 days a week, run a mile 2-3 times a week, cut some or the right carbs out of your diet. I’m sure you can see how this can relate to finance.

  2. Edwin says

    People always promise to make these giant changes and within a few weeks, stop. As you said, slow and steady wins the race, people need to make small changes that they can stick with.

    I liked Andy Rooney’s take on new years resolutions in the latest 60 minutes. He resolves to not pick up smoking (and he never has), to not exercise, and to not get ahead on anything. I’m confident that he can stick with them.

  3. says

    I see it as another excuse for the corporate world to cash in.

    I mean same with any other holidays, like mothers day, why do we need to like spend a fortune to make one day special for our mom, why not do it everyday.

  4. says

    I totally agree. Last year, I had a lofty resolution of losing 10lb (which I almost did, before gaining it all back!) and joined a gym. Needless to say I rarely used it and cancelled the membership in the fall. At that time, the girl at the desk warned me that I would have to repay the membership fee if I decided to rejoin later, but I figured that’s still more economical than continuing a membership you never use.

    I too made a resolution to start a blog, and like you I intended to come up with a decent amount of articles, pull out all the bells and whistles and craft the perfect blog. Never happened. Then a couple of days ago, I realized that it would end up another failed resolution. So I just got up and got started on 28Dec09! Nothing fancy – just a simple template to which I added a couple of posts, which are hopefully decent enough.

    Bettter late than never, and it’s one less failed resolution I’ll be carrying over to 2010. Happy New Year!

  5. says

    Addendum: I did a quick Google search for ‘New Year’s Resolutions statistics’ and got this as the first result: http://www.proactivechange.com/resolutions/statistics.htm Apparently, 40-45% of American adults make New Year’s resolutions, and of them, 64% maintain them past one month, and 46% maintain them at least six months. It also credits making a resolution to a more than ten-fold in accomplishing the goal after six months, compared to not making a resolution. (Now, of course, this should not be taken as definitive proof of the power of resolutions; the sample size of the study was fairly small, and there is the possibility that merely because they were being observed trying to complete their resolutions, the participants in the study were more diligent than the average resolution maker. Still, it does seem to indicate that making a resolution, particularly if you have an outside party to regularly check on your progress, does tend to result in more success than not doing so.)

    As an aside, the first google result I got for ‘Do People Follow Their New Year’s Resolutions?’ was this very article, so congrats on that, Studenomics!

  6. says

    @Studenomist: I suppose that New Year’s resolutions are at best, a mixed blessing. By giving people an excuse to put off making major changes in their lives until the calendar shows January 1st, thus delaying needed changes in their lives through December (and possibly even longer), due to an old tradition.

    On the plus side, have a set time when we as a society try to re-evaluate and improve our lives makes it easier to find others who are also trying to accomplish the same goals, thus giving us a support network/someone to whom we can be accountable.

    As for delaying living the life you want, I think we should start a resolution follow up tradition where we check in on each other regularly to keep us all motivated. Let’s make the first day of every other month into ‘Resolution Follow-Up/Restart Day’, make it into a tradition to get together with your closest friends (perhaps over dinner or drinks; frugal ones if you resolved to spend less), review your resolutions and your progress, and either continue the good work or try harder again in the future. Plus, you know, more excuses to get together with friends!

    • says

      Any excuse to get together with friends is a great excuse.

      Your idea is excellent in theory but difficult in application. The problem is that nobody wants to admit to not reaching their goals. Plus once you meet up with your buddies, odds are that you will discuss anything but you goals (football, hockey, etc.).

      What do you think?

  7. Bryan Page says

    I think people in general who make resolutions do so with a high expectance of actually completing their over-all goals. Often times It’s a mental way to “Start Over” and try to change their lives or do that thing that has been sitting in the back of their mind the past year. Which I agree with and from a personal growth aspect, it’s a healthy thing to do. A person should take time to reflect on those things they wish to change.

    But I totally agree with the NOW aspect of getting things done. If it needs fixing, might as well start now.

    The problem I see with Resolutions is;
    It’s a goal for heavens sake; Resolution are really goals that you want to accomplish something or goals to stop doing something. A goal by it’s simple definition imply’s that a degree of planning needs to take place. Often times people only look at the bigger picture and expect it to happen. Even Something as simple as “Lose Weight” takes a lot of planning. Changing eating habits, getting into an exercise routine and making it a habit are things that really need to be planned out, step by step, milestone by milestone. I personally think it’s the lack of planning that gets people off track. Perhaps more people should make the resolution to become better planners.

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