Goals & Habits

10 Reasons I’m Making Zero Resolutions

On a scale of “rebel” to “conformist”, I’m usually right up at the end of make a rule and I’ll follow it.

I love fresh starts almost as much as I love fresh stationery. I’m a sucker for the idea that if I could just fix-one-more-habit, all life’s little wrinkles would smooth away.

So why, then, have I decided that my 2020 new year’s resolutions will consist of ignoring the whole damn thing? Because:

I’m sick of being so hard on myself.

No resolutions | Pauline Wiles

I reckon we fall into 2 broad personality groups: those whose lives would be better if they tried a little more, and those of us who should try a little far less.

I’m in that second group. Are you? If so, read on.

Here are 10 reasons I’ve decided to effectively ignore January 1st and call 2020 my year of not trying so hard.

  1. I push myself more than I should. If you share this personality type, where your biggest problem is working too much, not too little, then a resolution is just one more reason to beat yourself up. I need to figure out how to work on fewer, more impactful things, not just pile more-more-more on my plate.
  2. I don’t need to reflect on 2019 in order to move forward with purpose. I keep a bedtime journal in which I make a short note every evening, and color in a “pixel” to reflect my mood. I even duplicate this with similar information in an app called Daylio, which makes handy reports for me. I know how I’m doing, and where I’m falling short.
  3. December 31 is an arbitrary date, and a silly one at that. I’m sure we’d be better off using a solstice, equinox, or even every weekend, as an opportunity to reset. I’ve mused on this before, in this article which suggests we should try this whole nonsense in February instead.
  4. I have enough aspirational habits already. On a daily basis I track whether I exercise, floss, meditate and eat-to-plan.  These have been part of my life for a while, and I see no reason to change them. Adding more to the mix would be lunacy.
  5. I’m already in the pattern of making monthly and weekly plans, which I really like.
  6. If I’m honest, some of the time I spend planning would be better used in just having fun. At times I’ve dabbled with quarterly planning, and I know that annual is just too long a horizon for most of us to grapple with. Here are more reasons not to plan.
  7. We don’t need a new year to treat ourselves to new stationery! I’ve been using an undated planner for a while and when that runs out, I’ll probably treat myself to a customized Agendio notebook to serve as my weekly paper overview.
  8. Last year I got carried away and set myself a reading challenge. I enjoyed some of the titles but found, when it actually came down to cracking the spine, that I had zero interest in the others. Turning what should be a pleasurable activity into another should-do didn’t boost my happiness.
  9. In 2019 I launched a new business. That, on its own, is enough for a lifetime of guilt and could-try-harders. I’m not going to put myself through more angst by setting unreasonable personal goals. That said, if you know anyone who’d be interested in a simple but stunning website, please send them my way!
  10. I want to see if I can do it. Ease up on myself, I mean. I’m convinced I’ll feel happier by pressuring myself less. I’m just not sure if I can pull it off.

Either you’ll completely “get” what I’m trying to say here, or you’re mildly disappointed that this isn’t yet another post on how you can turn over a new leaf in 2020.

Well, that’s okay: I can also offer you:

My audio seminar on Resolutions for Writers

A quick, easy training on how authors & writers in particular can think differently about January plans & hopes. It guides you through:

  • Why traditional resolutions don’t work;
  • Two fresh approaches for setting goals & intentions;
  • Tips & secrets to give your planning a boost.

Take the seminar for just $19.

Or, try these related articles:

I’d love to know your thoughts on this. If you have any tips, especially for number 10, in how to actually succeed in asking less from ourselves, please let me know!


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2 Comment

  1. Reply
    April J Harris
    December 18, 2019 at 2:40 pm

    I love this, Pauline! I definitely fall into the second group, and I’m way too hard on myself. In fact, I’ve already been considering ways I can leave a little more room for fun next year! Thank you for all your help and support this year – I really appreciate all you’ve done, and this post is the icing on the cake! Wishing you a very Happy Christmas!

    1. Reply
      Pauline
      December 18, 2019 at 9:11 pm

      Thank you, April. I suspect there’s lots and lots of us in that 2nd group!

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