Stop Making New Year’s Resolutions

Adrian S. Potter
4 min readDec 17, 2023

Do this instead.

Photo by Isaac Smith on Unsplash

People conjure up resolutions at the start of every year like clockwork, all in the name of self-improvement.

But that doesn’t mean they’re worth a damn.

New Year’s resolutions often prove ineffective for personal growth due to their inherently arbitrary nature. The pressure to set ambitious goals on a specific date can lead to unrealistic expectations and a lack of genuine commitment.

Resolutions are frequently fueled by societal expectations rather than authentic personal introspection, resulting in superficial objectives.

Moreover, the all-or-nothing mentality associated with resolutions can trigger discouragement and abandonment of goals at the first setback. Sustainable personal development requires continuous effort and a realistic, adaptable approach rather than tethering willpower to a particular calendar event.

In contrast, establishing gradual, well-defined habits throughout the year fosters lasting change by promoting consistency and perseverance when facing challenges.

But the allure of New Year, New Me is too hypnotic. So what can be done in place of resolutions?

In the past few years, I have taken a more mindful approach to goal setting by using a powerful annual review exercise. This tactic may work for you, whether your aspirations remain focused on your career, fitness, creativity, or some other endeavor.

What makes this effective? It harnesses the energy of prospection by tapping into the power of your future self and their wisdom.

Prospection, or the ability to anticipate and plan for the future, is a potent force in human behavior. By envisioning potential outcomes, individuals can shape their actions, fostering resilience and adaptability in navigating challenges with a forward-thinking mindset.

Your future self is infinitely more awesome than your current self. So why not start making decisions from their refined perspective instead of your limited present view?

Photo by Jen Theodore on Unsplash

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Adrian S. Potter

Antisocial Extrovert · Writer and Poet, Engineer, Consultant, Public Speaker · Writing about self-improvement, gratitude, and creativity · www.adrianspotter.com