The Problem with New Year’s Resolutions and What You Should Do Instead

January is long gone and so are the majority of new year’s resolutions that were made at the beginning of the year.

That’s because new year’s resolutions don’t work!

Say what?!

Thousands of people struggle with sticking to their resolutions that by the end of January, they’ve already broken them.

But why? And what should we do instead?

Well, in this post I’m going to explain exactly why they don’t work, how most of us aproach them and a shocking new way to think about new years resolutions that will completely change the way you achieve your goals this year.

Let’s go!

What Are New Year’s Resolutions?

A New Year’s Resolutions is a goal you set in December or January that you intend on reaching that coming year.

They’re often unresolved goals that you didn’t quite manage (or start) the year previously and can range from making more money or reading more books to losing weight or quit smoking.

Why Do We Make New Year’s Resolutions?

We all want to achieve our goals right?

Unfortunely for most of us, we end up prioritizing other commitments that our bigger, more desirable goals take a back seat and we tell ourselves “I’ll get to them later.”

Then another year goes by without any progress in sight. So we set ourselves a new years resolution.

But why?

Scarcity kicks in

Scarcity is the toxic feeling of running out of something. Whether it’s material things, money or time to complete a task, scarcity persists due to the fact that time for us humans is limited and this can really start to mess with our heads.

Even though scarcity can sometimes form into very irrational ways of thinking, it’s very apparent that time is limited and for those of us where money doesn’t grow on trees, running out of things (or time) is very real.

The problem is that scarcity often kicks in unconsciously. It gets to the end of the year and we get the dreaded feeling that time is running out and we start to panic.

Our emotions get the better of us and we act irrationally.

It’s then a natural phenomenon that we automatically think of all the goals we ever want to achieve and start planning to achieve them ASAP, or at the very least, over the following year.

It starts out as a good intention to achieve more, but our efforts dwindle away as scarcity wares off.

Our logical (and unconscious) mind takes over, and so…

We become complacent

Our usual behaviors and habits creep back in and we get comfortable with the way we’ve always lived our lives.

We often make wild decisions about how we’re going to change without giving them much thought of what it’ll actually take to make it our reality.

To be able to do everything we say we’re going to do and always stick to it takes a lot of self-discipline, willpower and integrity. These characteristics aren’t the easiest to learn, especially if we weren’t taught them as a child.

It often takes much of adulthood to develop such characteristics with a lot of trial and error.

And just having good intentions alone isn’t enough to change or reach your big goals.

It’s so easy to desire a better life and we often get a kick out of dreaming up our ideal world that the act of just playing it out in our minds satisfies the desire without any further action.

That’s why every year, upto 50% of the population will make new year’s resolutions in December and 80% of those people will give up before the end of January.

It’s a desparate attempt to make up for the lack of action that was made the year before.

But, surely this year will be different right?

Only if we do things differently – A new years resolution alternative.

A New Way to Think About Resolutions

Before I let you in on my new year’s resolution alternative, let’s dive into a new way of thinking about these allusive goals.

To do that, we need a new understanding of the word – resolution.

Specifically within the field of microscopy [ mai·kro·skuh·pee ] –

In microscopy, the term ‘resolution’ is used to describe the ability of a microscope to distinguish detail. In other words, this is the minimum distance at which two distinct points of a specimen can still be seen – either by the observer or the microscope camera – as separate entities.

Leica Microsystems

Let’s break this down…

Resolution in the field of microscopy means the detail you see of a particular subject depending on the distance you are away from it. When looking at the subject with the naked eye, the detail is blurred, it’s only when you look through a microscope that you can see all the detail of the subject.

Stick with me here…

Using this definition, I hope to use it as a metaphor to help us think of a new years resolution differently.

It will also help us understand why new years resolutions don’t work from the current way we think about them and it also gives us the answer to what we should do instead.

Here goes…

Think of your goal or resolution as the subject in the field of microscopy

When looking at (or thinking about) your intended goal before you’ve achieved it, is like looking at it with the naked eye (blurry)

You can only see the goal in detail (through a microscope) once you’ve achieved it.

Perception of Unachieved Goal vs Achieved Goal

So you’re not able to see the detailed resolution of your desired goal from your current perspective. You need to think of it from the perspective as if you’ve already achieved it.

For example: If your goal or resolution is to lose weight, you think of that as being simple enough because you’ve probably lost weight before but to actually become the person who weighs 10 pounds lighter you need to think like that person from their perspective.

When you become the person who has achieved that goal, you think of it with a greater level of detail. You understand the exact steps you had to take to see your achievement in it’s entirety, which was impossible to do before you acheived it.

This is the problem with new years resolutions because it doesn’t make you think about the way you would be thinking of the person you want to become from their perspective.

NYR’s makes you think of past failures, the scarcity of time running out and that we need to achieve everything within a year.

You think back to when you gave up in the past and you say to yourself “This year will be different”, without actually learning or understanding why you gave up in the first place.

Even when you seek out a person who has already achieved what you want to achieve, and follow their plan, most of the time, the person who has made the plan is thinking of the achievement from their new perspective and not from the only way it can be perceived by you.

That’s why so many people still fail even though they’re following a proven system.

Because they’re DOING the things that the person did who made the plan, but while the person who made the plan was doing the things, they ultimately became a different person in the process and started thinking of the goal in a completely different way. They now know something that they didn’t know before. They had an “aha” moment.

So we need to do something different if we want to achieve this goal of ours. But finding a new plan or system is usually what we do.

We say, “I tried the Atkins diet last year and I’m still overweight so it must be the system that doesn’t work because I did everything it told me to do.”

Finding a new system isn’t thinking or doing anything different, it’s an attempt to try a different system but from the same approach as we would have taken before.

A New Years Resolution Idea – How to Make New Year Resolutions

So if you have set yourself a new years resolution before and then not followed through with it, you need to do something entirely different.

Just thinking about what you need to do and taking some action isn’t enough.

Here’s a four step process of what you should do instead.

1. Become the person who has achieved the goal

If you can only see the goal in all it’s detail once you’ve become the person who has achieved it, then you must start thinking from the perspective of the person who has achieved the goal.

Here’s the deal…

You, in your current form are not the person who can achieve your desired goal so you have to start acting like someone who has already ahcieved it.

You have to take this quote quite literally…

A new year, a new you!

Or better still, reversed…

A new you, a new year!

But how on earth do you start being the person who has achieved the goal before you’ve actually achieved it?

Quite simple! You model yourself on other people who already have.

You must start looking at people who have achieved the thing you want through a microscope.

Get extremely granular with minute detail on how your idols have become successful in achieving the goals that you want.

Follow them on social media, watch their Youtube videos, read their blog posts, listen to their podcast interviews, buy their book, take their course.

Learn their character traits and behavior and start acting like them, listen to how they talk about themselves and start talking to yourself like that.

Walk the walk… Talk the talk… you name it – do whatever it takes!

Model your new self on the success of others and strive to become that new version of you every single day.

2. Focus on micro actions based off successful character traits

Once you have a list of a few people you admire and that you can model yourself on, write a list of their characteristics and habits and incorporate these into your life.

Instead of saying to yourself, “I’m going to start a diet on Monday”… Start thinking about how someone who is already your ideal weight or physique would be thinking.

It’s likely that they have formed the habits of eating healthy food so much that they don’t need to go on a diet. If they ever want to eat a dessert, they are so used to never eating sugary food that eating more than one bar of chocolate, a powerdered sugar doughnut or stick of candy would make them sick.

If you want to achieve your goal of losing weight and having a great physique then this is the person you have to become.

But you don’t have to take things to this extreme.

Keep in mind that making micro changes to your current lifestyle will weild huge returns in the long run so focus on making many micro commitments to achieve your goal instead of one or two massive lifestyle changes.

Once you know the traits and characteristics of these successful people, you’ll will have a higher level of focus and clarity of the person you need to become to make it your own reality.

3. Learn to be comfortable with discomfort

Once you start incorporating the character traits of successful people who have achieved your desired goal, things will start to get very uncomfortable.

Your old self will start getting in the way of your new self and you will find yourself sabotaging your success.

This is because your ego is attached to your current identity. It’s all your ego knows and will feel threatened if you start changing it.

Our identities are constantly evolving, but usually in a very gradual way and on the surface level. It’s only when we start making drastic changes in favour of who we want to become that our ego gets threatened.

We get uncomfortable because we are loosing a sense of who we are, we are out of our comfort zone and into new, uncertain territory.

So we need to get comfortable with discomfort by sticking to our new way of being.

We need to change our beliefs about ourselves and rewire our subconsious mind.

4. Rewire your brain for success

If you’ve been struggling with achieving your goals for some time now, you probably read that last section and understood exactly what I was talking about.

You’ve got to a certain point in whatever it is you’re trying to achieve and things started getting uncomfortable for you.

Now you want to know how you can prevent yourself from holding back and stop self-sabotage from getting in your way.

And to do that, you have to rewire your brain for success.

Here’s the deal… It’s the beliefs you hold about yourself and the world that are keeping you stuck with achieving success.

If you believe that you don’t deserve your goal or happiness then your subconscious will keep you where you are.

If you’re worried what people will think about you once you are the person you want to be then you’ll continue pushing your desired reality away from you, coming up with all sorts of excuses along the way.

The fact of the matter is that our beliefs create our reality and impact our behavior. They drive us to do things that aren’t in our best interest, like binging on sugary foods when we’re trying to stick to healthy food.

Or procrastinating when we know we’ve got better things to do. It’s all too easy to excuse our actions when we just don’t feel like working towards our future selves.

But this can all be changed when we start to change our beliefs.

And you can change your beliefs when you change your thoughts because the thoughts you have affirm your beliefs, so if you’re saying to yourself, “I really want this bar of chocolate” or “I’ll read that book tomorrow”, subconsiously your saying to yourself that you don’t want to change now.

You don’t want to be the version of you that you dream about but this is easily done when the thoughts you’re having that don’t serve you are on autopilot.

It’s time to change the habitual thinking and affirm new, more empowering beliefs.

And how do you do this?

Affirmations are a good start!

You can chack out the selection of affirmations on this website or do a Google search for affirmations that you can print off and say to yourself everyday so that you start to recognise the disempowering thoughts you’re having and turn them into more positive ones.

You can even search for affirmations on YouTube if you’d prefer listening to them rather than reading them to yourself.

Remember that when we look for things in our external environment to confirm the things we believe, the Universe will show us the thing we’re looking for or focussing on.

And when you start to believe that you are worth every bit of success that you desire, then the Universe will start to show you evidence of that fact.

That is called the Law of Attraction and it is working even if you aren’t aware of it.

So change your thoughts, change your beliefs and start acting like your future self today and you will achieve your goals faster than you ever imagined possible.


It’s only when you start looking through a microscope of the people you admire that you start to see the resolution of your future self in fine detail.

So think of the character traits you need to aquire to achieve your goal instead of attempting your goal before you’re being the person who can achieve them.

Be that person today and change your beliefs and you’ll never need to set a New Years Resolution again!

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