Why You Should Never Make New Year’s Resolutions

As soon as the pressure, push, fuss (feel free to add one of your very own adjectives here) of Christmas is over with, everyone starts in with yet another really stressful tradition – the New Year’s resolution.

There are many statistics out there about New Year’s resolutions and many of them show that less than half of these make it to June. So why do we even bother? Why do we feel the need to remake a part of ourselves every year? All that ends up happening is more self-loathing after the inevitable failure results. So, if you’re really into having a great experience of failed expectations then go ahead, make those New Year’s resolutions.

From a non-dualist perspective, the typical New Year’s resolution is like finding a job instead of a career, which is a really bad idea. The focus of awareness is narrow, limited and never satisfying. When we do this, we are telling ourselves that we should be something other than what we are: that we’re not good enough as we are. The social media, flagrant with consumerism, fuels and manipulates these feelings of inadequacy.

What we need to remember is that New Year’s resolutions are based in duality. They put our attention on the ego (personality) and take it away from what is real. The result is that we pour all of our energy into the ‘window dressing’ while losing sight of the truth.

There is a Chinese proverb, “Tension is who you think you should be. Relaxation is who you are.”

So relax, toast 2011 with no expectations. If you must make a resolution, make it one of switching your focus off the ego and onto bringing more love into your awareness.


2 thoughts on “Why You Should Never Make New Year’s Resolutions

  1. A lot of the gym rats I know have a running joke about this. It goes something like “the hardest day of the year to get an open treadmill is January 2nd, the easiest is February 2nd”. It loses something in the translation. It’s a much better line standing out in the cold with a dishwater tasting cup of McDonald’s coffee at 4:52 AM waiting for the YMCA to open. Anyway, the idea is why make’em if you know you are going to break’em (I gotta send that to Jessie Jackson).

    It’s a strange cycle to get sucked into. The old “I’ll have a piece of cheesecake tonight, but then I won’t eat for the next week” thing. I get into that a lot. New Years is a celebration of this sort of odd but compelling form thinking.

    I like the way you use the duality ego vs. reality framework to make this case. I’ve never really thought of that aspect of it, but it makes a good deal of sense when you think about it that way.

    I’m planning on never making a New Years resolution again. I think I am going to start next year though.

    1. Yeah, I guess the cyclical nature of life is the culprit here. The constant experience of new beginnings with Jan 1st being the most celebrated. I guess it’s just in our DNA….

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