Breaking Loose From The New Year Resolution’s Fallacy – Praise Ehi Uloh


Drafting a resolution for the new year has been a tradition in most countries for centuries. It comes with the belief that, since it’s a new year, you can get a fresh start or a clean slate. Some go as far as thinking a “new you” has emerged. It is called the new year’s resolution’s fallacy.

This also occurs during birthdays and new months.

According to the Cambridge English Dictionary, a new year’s resolution is defined as a promise that you make to yourself to start doing something good or stop doing something bad on the first day of the year.

Making resolutions in themselves is not wrong, because there are new year resolutions that lead to fruitful experiences. This happens on certain occasions. However, there are notable reasons the new year’s resolution is bad for you.


1. Self-sabotaging: New year’s resolutions are bad for you when you try to sabotage

yourself. It’s simple. This means making resolutions just to impress others. Making new year’s resolutions just to impress a group of people or someone is simply an injustice you can do to yourself. A resolution should stem from what is good for your growth and not to please someone else. Unfortunately, subconsciously, most people engage in new year’s resolutions to impress others or seek some sort of validation.


2. Not SMART: Let’s face it, a lot of people trash the whole concept of goal-setting when making new year’s resolutions. Why? New year’s resolutions are not goals. It’s like a rat race. You’ll hear “Hey, it’s the 11th month of 2023; time to start making those

resolutions”. It has become so popular that it is done so lazily. Time for the truth. For a

resolution, new year or not, to not be fallacious, it has to be S-SMART,

M-MEASURABLE, A-ACTIONABLE, R-REALISTIC, and T-TIMEBOUND. Anything short of this is a mere wishlist that will be done by the third week of the new year.


3. Bad timing: A good reason why new year’s resolutions are bad for you is because they are done at the worst time possible. Who says that you need to wait until the date on the calendar is the 1st, 2nd, or the date after your birthdate? It’s a fallacy. The change of season or day will not change you. Change is a whole process with different factors. It is unlikely that we will succeed in our objective of drastically changing our eating habits on January 1st, when we were able to eat anything we wanted until the previous day.


4. Zero accountability: Another attribute that comes with new-year resolutions is that there is a lack of accountability. Remember, New Year’s resolutions are not goals. This means they are not specific, measurable, actionable, realistic, and time-bound. Therefore, it is difficult difficult to hold one accountable. This is aside from the fact that a new resolution might

not be what is best, but it’s done in the heat of the moment without planning.

Who invented New Year’s resolutions?

New year’s resolutions were begun about 4,000 years ago by the ancient Babylonians. Over time, it was done in other countries such as Brazil, ancient Rome, Spain, China, and in the mediaeval era. They resolved to do things better the following year. However, it is quite obvious that resolving to fulfil some desires will only end up in a journal if SMART goals are not set and

systems are in place. Studies say about 80% of people fail their New Year’s resolution, which means it is not a sustainable idea. This is why it is called the new year’s resolution’s fallacy.

According to Forbes in 2023, the three most common New Year’s resolutions are improved mental health (45%), improved fitness (39%), and weight loss (37%). According to statistica the number one New Year’s resolution is to live a healthier life.


How to Break Loose From The New Year’s Resolution’s Fallacy

It is expected to have desires for a new year or resolve to do things differently or in a better way.

However, this does not mean all the things you resolved to do will happen when the clock strikes twelve on New Year’s Eve. No! There’s a place for process. Breaking loose from the new year’s resolutions fallacy is coming out of the lies that a new year, day, month, or season automatically causes a new you.

We can take a cue from Newton’s third law of motion. It states that all objects must continue in a state of rest unless compelled by an external force to do otherwise. This means that until you do something different, you will continue in the exact same way you have been going. A new you can only be gotten through time and process. Here are some simple tips to break free from the new year’s resolution’s fallacy.


● Mentor for goal(s): To break loose from the new year’s resolution’s fallacy, you need to submit to change. A mentor or coach can assist you in achieving your desired outcome.

It’s simple. Take a self-assessment, like a SWOT analysis for a business. Find out the

happenings in your life that you want to change. This isn’t the time to think about social media trends or what’s happening with your neighbour. Rather, it is time to check

thoroughly what all-round growth truly means to you and what areas you know you need improvement on. Then the next step will be to make SMART goals; you might need a

coach for this too. A mentor or coach will not only guide you towards your goals but will also hold you accountable as you go on.

● Run your own race: Running your own race means fixing timelines and deadlines for yourself. Don’t join the rat race; be different. You don’t have to do what everyone does. Be unique. You never have to compete with anyone other than yourself. Why? You are on a journey of personal development. The whole idea is to strive to improve yourself

each day so that you become an even better version of yourself than yesterday.

Therefore, to break free from the new year’s resolution’s fallacy, you have to keep

working on yourself year in and year out. Don’t wait for New Year’s Eve to think about big ideas or creative goals. Identify those goals and create challenges for you to get better

at them.

● Environmental modification: Another tip to breaking loose from the new year’s

resolution’s fallacy is to modify your environment. This is why people struggle when they are in a bad environment. However, you can go beyond what is obtainable in the

environment you live in. You can recreate your environment just the way you want it. A good way to do this is by reading books and listening to podcasts. Words can literally

make or mar a person. It’s basically what influences a person in an environment—what you hear. So deliberately and consistently feeding your mind with healthy and

empowering words can get you far. It will be easier to get going with what you need in

life than to fall for the lie that January of a new year is what you need for your desired


● Embrace community: A group of people with the same interests and aspirations form a community. Embracing people who are actively working towards their goals will have you doing the same. With this, you will never have to take in the lie because you’re surrounded by people who came together just for one purpose. Say you have a community of graphic designers with the purpose of pitching to companies to get really good deals. There would be activities in place each day to make it happen day in, day out. This doesn’t mean they will not set bigger goals for the following year. However, it is different from when a lone graphics designer just wakes up on December 21st and adds ‘getting a high-paying client’ to a new year’s resolution list and somehow believes it will just work out. Don’t get me wrong, if this designer has had a close mentor or has been smashing goals all year, it’s going to be a whole new story.

Personal development is paramount, especially if you want to make an impact. So goal-setting, discipline, and accountability should be habits. Seasons don’t have to change for you to realize this. Most of all, your desired change might not come in a day; just give yourself to the process and start from where you are.

See you at the top.

Praise Ehi Uloh
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