Most New Year’s resolutions don’t survive January. Many never get further than their initial thought or utterance.
Why is this? From informal surveys, research and personal experience, there are lots of excuses why resolutions never see the shadow of Groundhog’s Day. In no particular ranking, here are 10 of them. See if any look familiar.
1. Too cold.
In most of the U.S., January is the coldest month. It’s also tied for the longest month, and most definitely the darkest month (most hours without sunlight). So, yeah, it doesn’t lend itself to outdoor activities such as exercising (one of the top resolutions). That’s why many folks join a gym and…
2. Quit the gym.
It cost too much. You can’t find time for it. You don’t like the people at the gym who looked at you like you were only there this month because of your New Year’s resolution. Your gym buds stopped showing up. Or you don’t like driving to the gym in cold weather. Yada, yada, yada.
3. Wussed out as usual.
You squeeze the Charmin. Tap on aquarium glass. Even buy stuff from the creepy guy in the ice cream van. Willpower never was your strong suit.
4. Too busy with work/kids.
Perhaps you are on your third day care due to the two-year-old’s biting issue, or providing extra homework assistance in support of your child’s New Year’s resolution, or spending evenings as a nervous passenger offering driving instruction to a 16-year old. On the work side, it’s easy to spend more hours in the office in January trying to help get the company start the new year with a bang.
5. Spouse quit his/her resolution, so you lost your motivation.
Quitting is contagious. If one spouse gives up on the resolution, the other is likely to follow – especially if both share a similar resolution, such as losing weight or arguing less.
6. Blew the resolution on the first weekend and didn’t feel like rebooting it.
Think about it. We start the New Year coming off the holidays and jumping back into the work routine. Is that the easiest time to quit smoking, start dieting or add something to our schedule like exercise or learning a new skill? Probably not, which is one reason we blow it early and call it quits.
7. It was a stupid resolution.
You aren’t going to lose 20 pounds and become a level 32 druid in World of Warcraft. One does not beget the other. Most of our resolutions are like that. They aren’t simple or realistic, and there’s typically no reasonable strategy in place to accomplish them.
8. Forgot it.
Somewhere in the midst of back to school, returning Christmas presents, football bowl games, performance reviews or getting your frozen water pipes fixed, your resolution slipped your mind. It happens.
9. Waiting until Lent/Ramadan/Yom Kippur/Other when resolutions count for something.
New Year’s resolutions, so the thinking goes, are guided by a calendar date. Religious sacrifices, on the other hand, heed a higher calling. So, after a fleeting dalliance with a New Year’s resolution, you resolve that it’s okay – maybe even enlightened – to put it off until that period when the Supreme Being is watching.
10. Why bother with the resolution when the world’s going to you-know-what anyway?
This excuse is mostly limited to avid consumers of the “news,” especially the evening local/national broadcasts and cable news networks.
It isn’t David Letterman material, but we can mostly relate to this list of excuses. More than a few of us have used at least two of them in our lifetimes, much less the past month. But no one need beat themselves up about it. According to statistics, more than 90% of New Year’s resolutions end in failure.
Ignore the rationalizations. Resolutions fail because they either aren’t specific or they aren’t grounded in your reality. They fail because we don’t properly plan to accomplish them, or we stumble along the way at the little things like tracking progress, rewarding ourselves, taking a break, etc.
If you are one of the nine out of 10 that don’t accomplish your New Year’s resolution, what are your best excuses for failing? If you are in the one-out-of-10 resolution achievers, tell us why you succeed and how we can do better. We’d love to read your views in the Comments section below.