Why New Year's Resolutions are Bullshit

It’s that time of year again. 2018 is coming to a close and people are starting to think about their big plans are for 2019. If you’ve familiar with the ebb and flow of gym members, then you’re probably bracing yourself for the “resolutioners.” For those not familiar with the term, the resolutioners make up the large influx of people that sign up for a gym membership at the beginning of the year, only to make it a few weeks into the new year before they start to fall off.


Look, there’s nothing wrong with setting goals and then going out after them. In fact, I encourage everyone to continually have goals to go after. If you have to use New Year’s Day as the motivation you need to finally start chasing your goals, then I’m absolutely fine with that. What I don’t want you to do is to become one of the overwhelming statistics that starts off 2019 strong and is then eating ice cream on the couch 3 weeks later. I’ve seen this happen way too often. So how can we change that? First, let’s look at the predictable steps your common New Year’s goal setter makes:


Step 1: Mope about what you didn’t accomplish in 2018

Step 2: Celebrate the New Year

Step 3: Make 1-3 really big goals, promising yourself that THIS is the year to see them through

Step 4: Hit the ground in a full sprint (Going to the gym 5x a week / Cutting out carbs / etc.)

Step 5: Get burnt out after the first few weeks

Step 6: Ease off the throttle and settle back into your old ways


Where did things go wrong? If you ask me, it’s before they even started working on their goals (Step 3). The issue I usually see is that people like to chase after the big goals without first having a plan in place. They like telling their friends that they’re going to lose 50 pounds this year, but don’t have a plan for actually accomplishing it. Having that plan, or rather the lack of having one, is why I believe that most people let their aspirations fizzle out way too soon.


The key to actually accomplishing what you want in 2019 is to have lazar focus and a plan in plan before you even get started. You want to have smaller checkpoints in place that will make that big goal seem more manageable. If the big goal is to lose 50 pounds in 2019, your goal for January might be to lose 4-5 pounds. Focusing only on the big goal at the end is the best to get frustrated and burnt out long before you get close to hitting it. So let’s reformat the steps to make sure you have a successful 2019:


Step 1: Accept that you didn’t accomplish everything you wanted to in 2018

Step 2: Celebrate the New Year

Step 3: Think of 1-2 meaningful goals that would improve your life for 2019

Step 4: Start creating a plan to accomplish it (Bi-weekly and monthly checkpoints)

Step 5: Begin by gradually working towards them (Habits take time to develop and your body needs time to adapt to new stresses)

Step 6: Remind yourself that there is no quick path to success, and that small changes snowball into big changes over time.

Jon Griffith specializes in optimizing performance for firefighters, police, EMS, and military personnel. He is a personal trainer, strength & conditioning specialist, full-time firefighter, and former U.S. Army infantryman. Join the movement to ensure all emergency responders are physically and mentally prepared to face the challenges in their day brings by following Max Fortitude Fitness on Facebook.