New Year resolutions

Are New Year resolutions destined to fail?

I’ve never been a fan of New Year resolutions. I kind of see it as the annual version of ‘I’ll start on Monday’. As a rule, I don’t believe in putting something off until tomorrow that you can start today. I also think the biggest problem with New Years resolutions is they are often too big, too ambitious, too vague and lacking in a plan of action to be achievable.

But to avoid being too much of a Debbie Downer, my attitude remains open. I admit that resolutions are not with out merit. It’s important to always set goals for ourselves, to strive for more. I just think we tend to go about them the wrong way.

Don’t be vague

While talking to a friend the other day about the peril’s of resolutions, they convinced me that it doesn’t have to be specific plans like getting fit or cutting out booze. New Year resolutions can be about setting overarching goals for yourself for the year ahead, or a one-off goal, like surrounding yourself with people who push you, or finding a new job. It could even be about travelling to one specific place you’ve always wanted to go to.

These type of resolutions make a lot more sense because they are more specific. It’s not ‘I want to travel more’, it’s ‘I will go to Spain’. It’s not ‘I’m not going to lose all the we weight I’ve wanted to when i’ve never exercised before’ it’s ‘I’m going to start going to a weekly gym class’.

On top of this, one thing I have definitely learned is that goals are always more achievable with friends. Having someone trying to achieve the same goal as you means you’re accountable to someone and you’ve got your own personal cheer squad keeping you motivated.


I read an awesome article on New Year resolutions in the New York Times that suggests when making New Year Resolutions you should approach them like a work task. If you were in your work review setting KPIs and objectives for the next year, it’s all about setting SMART parameters to achieving them. Are your resolutions SMART? An acronym for specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound, breaking your resolution down into SMART objectives it’s easier to map out how you are going to complete your goal.

To reiterate my earlier point, be specific, don’t just say get ‘healthy’ - what does it mean? Weight loss? If so, how much? Then we look to measuring success. How will you track it? Photos? Weekly weigh-ins? Then look at if it’s achievable? Don’t say you want to loose half your body weight, or save enough to retire in a year as it’s probably not going to happen and you’ll be pissed off and give up quicker. Opt for smaller, achievable goals and then add stretch goals each time you smash a new target. Is it relevant to you? Are you choosing this goal for the right reasons or because you think society wants you to be thin? Do it for you and only you.

Finally, set a realistic time frame to achieving it. At one end, do expect big changed to happen in a short time frame, you’re asking to fail, but don’t give yourself a year to lose a pound either as it’s too easy.

For 2018, while I haven’t settle on anything yet, here’s a shortlist of my potential resolutions:

  1. Make more YouTube videos (thinking SMART: One a month, simple chat format to be achievable for the next year)
  2. No booze until my America trip. Short term, until April to realistic. Stretch goal: Stop one-off drinks. Stick to only having booze Fridays and Saturdays.
  3. Get more sleep. (I only sleep 5-6 hours a night). Aim for 7-8 on week nights for next three months. Starting with going to bed 30 mins earlier and building up.
  4. Learn to cook with the slow cooker. I own one and I’ve never used it. Aim is to prep weeknight meals in advance.
  5. Meditate more. I love to meditate but it’s easy to get out of the routine. I aim for twice a day, fail, and give up completely. One a day to start. Check out my guide to meditation for beginners here. Find out more about my meditation journey.
  6. Reduce my plastic use. Buy a water bottle and a reusable travel coffee mug.

Which do you think I should do? Or should I do them all?

What are you New Year resolutions? Comment in the box below!

Wishing you a happy New Year. Good luck!


Written by Neil Thornton
London-based coffee drinker. Editor by day, blogger by whatever time he finds spare.