15 New Year’s Resolutions That Are Impossible to Stick To

Of the 45 percent of Americans who make New Year's resolutions, only 8 percent see them through—probably because they're more like dreams than goals. Ditch these pie-in-the-sky promises for a better, healthier year to come.

Previous
1/15 View as List
Next

To be more positive

iStock/peopleimages

It's sounds simple, pleasant, and easy enough, but setting an arbitrary resolution to be "better" at something is too vague to yield actual results. "Emotions and responsiveness to life can vary from day to day, so what's more positive one day could be totally different the next," says Amber Hurdle, certified life coach who works with female entrepreneurs. "Instead, resolve to choose gratitude and happiness daily, focusing specifically on replacing negative habits and thoughts with positive ones." Try reading motivational, personal, or professional development books, spiritual novels, listen to inspiring podcasts, or watch uplifting videos online to work your way out of a negative head space. Check out these other (specific) 14 New Year's resolutions for your happiest year yet.

To spend more time with family

iStock/wundervisuals

This is certainly a noble and amicable resolution for anyone, but there will likely be behaviors and obstacles getting in the way of your ability to see it through. "Having 'more time' to spend with loved ones unfortunately comes down to logistics and priorities, which are changing constantly as the time available in our schedule changes," says life coach Jennifer Horton, MS. "So promising that you'll miraculously have more time available to designate to your family come January 1 is not really fair to yourself or your loved ones." Instead, take the time to assess and evaluate your life from an outside perspective. Based on how you spend your time, what is obviously important to you? Determine your true priorities—whether they match how you're spending your time or not—and devise ways to devote time and attention to pursuing them. (Start with these 10 resolutions for happier weekends with your family.) Delegate those time wasters that eat up valuable time, even if that means hiring people to take over tasks such as housekeeping and yard work that distract from your chosen priorities. Even an hour or two per week can dramatically add time to your schedule to focus on more important things. Carve out more time with these 8 little resolutions that will save you hours each week.

To improve relationships with friends or family

iStock/kali9

Ultimately, improving your relationships improves your overall satisfaction in life, but simply stating that you want to improve your relationships leaves too many variables in the hands of others. The one thing you can control is how much forgiveness you show, because you aren't hurting anyone but yourself by holding on to anger and resentment. "Sometimes it's easier to forgive someone else than it is to (really) forgive yourself," says Hurdle. "So set out to work on showing yourself grace for things like making a bad financial decision, entering into the wrong relationship, eating too much over the weekend, or whatever you beat yourself up over. Forgiving others—and yourself—paves the way for better relationships across the board. Here are 12 more New Year's resolutions that will improve your relationship.

To fall in love or find a relationship

iStock/peopleimages

Having love in your life is always a beautiful intention, however, allowing the natural process to unfold is even more beautiful when the intentions are pure. "For one to have a healthy intimate relationship with another, one must first have a healthy relationship with one's own self first and foremost," says Horton. "When we're 'looking' for something, it infers that we've lost something, but a relationship cannot be lost when it is not yet discovered." Instead, make a resolution to become more aware of your strengths and values, and develop a plan to meet more people within a certain time frame. When you're content with yourself, you often stop seeking out that soulmate and, when you do that, often the right person arrives in your life anyway. When you're ready, here's how to meet and attract new people, from a dating expert.

To get divorced or end a relationship

iStock/alvarez

If there's turmoil in your relationship (here's how to know if you're in a toxic relationship), try intending to receive kindness, understanding, and love in your new year instead of focusing on a single goal to destroy what you've built. Sure, maybe this person truly is not right for you and you would be happier without them in your life—but pinning the idea on a new year's resolution that will dramatically happen with a change in season can be tricky. "Instead, if you're in the midst of a challenging partnership, you might make the resolution to research three options for improvement, for instance setting an appointment with a marriage counselor or a communication coach," suggests Kelsey Patel, a Beverly Hills, California-based life coach. "Prolonging such a huge decision allows you ample time to truly contemplate the final results of such a split." Check out these other resolutions you can make any time of year.

To quit your current job

iStock/visionchina

It might sound tempting to ditch your job on a certain date, but don't rush to draft your resignation, experts say. "The moment you make that decision, you may feel more lost than ever—or relieved!—but is that risk worth it?" asks Jessi L. LaCosta, resilience advisor and board-certified leadership and life coach. Instead of focusing on the part of your job that you dislike—your work, your boss, your commute—make an effort to meet the right people and start working on passion projects that may end up redeeming the job for you. "When you focus on your happiness and your desires, everything else around you can easily and gracefully shift in your favor," LaCosta says. Stick with these 11 New Year's resolutions that make you stand out at work.

To travel more

iStock/leopatrizi

Making a resolution to travel more can take you many wonderful places. But if you truly want to travel abroad, for example, simply saying you want to travel more can lead you to the same tired vacation spot you've gone to since childhood. Instead, make concrete plans to take your dream trips. "Take action as if your desired trips are without question going to become a reality," suggests Hurdle. Do you want to travel the world with your family? Update your passports. Start learning the language together. Commit to these 7 money-saving New Year's resolutions so you can afford the trip. "When you take your dreams seriously and actually believe that they can become a reality, you can start turning an ambiguous 'travel more' resolution turn into actual life-changing experiences," Hurdle says. Don't miss these other 10 little resolutions that will change your life for good.

To have a child

iStock/pixelfit

Deciding to start a family is an undoubtedly exciting and momentous experience, but it comes with its own pressures and unforeseen factors (like these 14 things no one tells you about giving birth). Certainly you can begin trying to get pregnant if that's on your agenda for the new year. But make other plans too. "If you feel a strong desire to be a parent, make a resolution to enroll in a parenting class or become a mentor—something that has a high certainty of happening and applies considerably less pressure," LaCosta says.

To totally re-invent yourself

iStock/peopleimages

Discovering a new you can be a great idea, unless you don't have a grounded, substantial reason for doing it. "Instead, resolve to define and develop your own personal purpose and place a time frame around that," suggests LaCosta. "Tell yourself that you will develop a one-to-three sentence statement that defines who you are, the value you bring to others and the impact you intend to make for your family, community, or even the world." This way, you are re-inventing yourself with an authentic intention and actual implementation. Stay true to yourself (but feel better about yourself!) with these 17 beauty resolutions experts have made themselves.

To stop procrastinating

iStock/diego_cervo

Arbitrarily saying that you're going to stop procrastinating may seem like a great resolution that can help many future goals. But where's the game plan to make this mindset shift actually happen? "Instead of committing to end procrastination in theory, put the commitment to action by building accountability into your life through support environments," suggests Hurdle. "You can join a support group, a mastermind for your business, a financial class, or even an organization like Alcoholics Anonymous or Overeaters Anonymous." Connecting with people who will support your goals can help you achieve whatever you set your mind to without the temptation to put it off. In the meantime, check out these 8 top tricks to help you stop procrastinating.

Previous
1/15 View as List
Next

Want to stay smart and healthy?

how we use your e-mail
We will use your email address to send you this newsletter. For more information please read our privacy policy.