It’s officially 2017, and you know what that means – plenty of people are making (and breaking) their New Year’s Resolutions. Now, the idea of a new year’s resolution is great, in theory – a fresh year, a fresh start, a better you. What’s not to love about self-improvement? However, more often than not, resolutions end up becoming that thing you guiltily remember in April, the thing that ruins your entire month in January by taking over your life. They’re not something that many people keep – and before you start feeling badly about breaking your resolutions year after year, take comfort in this – one of the reasons that so many people fail at their resolutions is because, well, they make awful resolutions to begin with!
At The Talko, we’re all about becoming your best self (and indulging your love for celebrities and humour), so we’re going to help you avoid the resolution guilt trap in 2017. If you’ve already made your resolutions for the year, don’t worry – you can likely implement a few tweaks and craft a resolution you’re far more likely to actually succeed in achieving.
Whether you want to tone up or learn a new language, whether you want to work on your relationships or your career, there’s a resolution for you – just make sure you avoid these 15 awful ones.
15. Join a gym
There is a reason that there are so many jokes about the gym being busy in January, and a reason that nearly every gym has some type of special January deal for new members. That’s because so, so many people decide they want to get in better shape and figure that joining a gym is the best way to achieve that goal. Yes, if you end up loving working out at the gym, it’s definitely a great investment in your health. However, gyms aren’t for everyone – some people may prefer running outside, and would be better served by investing in a great pair of running shoes and an arm band to carry your tunes. Others may prefer fun classes, and should spend their hard earned dollars on Zumba and Pilates classes. While a gym can definitely help you get in shape, if it’s not the right fit for you, you just won’t end up going – like many people who sign up for memberships in January know.
14. Stop eating *insert every food you love*
Look, we get it – January rolls around after you’ve been gorging all December at family gatherings and friends’ dinner parties, feasting on all your favourite holiday treats. It can be tempting to want to run in the entirely opposite direction and just drink green smoothies and eat steamed vegetables. However, that’s not a sustainable change – and if you make it your resolution to cut out virtually every food you enjoy, you’ll have a miserable month, and will likely be stuffing your face with burgers and ice cream come February. Now, there’s nothing wrong with trying to make healthier choices – that’s a fantastic resolution that can have a positive impact on so many aspects of your life. However, think of it as adding – instead of saying you’ll cut out every sweet thing, tell yourself you’ll sometimes swap your evening bowl of ice cream for a bowl of fruit instead, or order the salad alongside your burger rather than the fries. Baby steps, y’all.
13. Spend more time with family and friends
This is a fantastic resolution to make on the surface, but if you dig down a little bit, you’ll realize just why it’s so awful – it’s way, way too vague. Listen, everyone wants to try to make more time for their friends and family – no one purposefully wants to give up time spent laughing and enjoying yourself with your BFFs. The reason that people find they aren’t spending as much time with their loved ones is because they aren’t making the time, or that they’re just too exhausted after working endless overtime that they don’t want to do anything but flop on their couch at the end of the day. So, in order to make this resolution a good one, you need to be more concrete about it – perhaps it’s something specific, like promising yourself you’ll carve out two hours every Sunday morning for brunch with your girlfriends, or deciding you’ll host a dinner for your family once a month.
12. Be a more neat, organized person
Okay, this resolution has the same problem as the whole ‘spend more time with your loved ones’ resolution – it’s just so vague that it’s completely overwhelming! If you vow to yourself on January 1 that you’ll become a totally organized person, you’ll probably find yourself at your wit’s end a week later as you try to determine where to start. Just as you need to break goals into more manageable steps, you need to break your resolutions into smaller steps that are actually concrete and achievable. For example, if you dream of having an always clean house, one where you don’t have to scramble around shoving things into closets and under couches the minute you get unexpected visitors, start small. Tell yourself that you’ll put away your coat and shoes when you get home every day, or that you won’t let the junk mail pile up on the counter. You’ve got to start somewhere, and those small steps will eventually lead to you achieving your bigger resolutions.
11. Stop stressing
Look, we get it – resolutions are meant to be vows to yourself to tackle the issues you see in your life that you want to fix. For many people, this involves attempting to manage the stress load that has become an overwhelming beast in your life. However, just saying that you want to stop stressing isn’t going to work – if it did, everyone would just give themselves a mental reminder when they felt the stress coming on and then carry on with their lives, totally relaxed. The only way to try to manage your stress is to address the things that are causing it – that means taking a good look at your life and trying to figure out where you can easily make changes. If you find that trying to find the right outfits stresses you out, perhaps it might be beneficial to splurge once on a personal shopper to put together a capsule wardrobe. If you’re stressed because you loathe your job, it may be time to start looking at your other options and planning a career change. If it’s just general stress, perhaps vowing to work out every morning would be helpful. It’s all about making your resolution more manageable and effective.
10. Lose a certain amount of weight ASAP
While some people who resolve to lose weight really just need to tone up and make a few healthier choices, there are many people who have a significant amount of weight to shed in order to become their healthiest selves. However, resolving to lose 50 pounds is probably going to fail, simply because it seems massively overwhelming. 50 pounds is a lot of weight to lose, and when your week or two of hard work only yields a paltry one pound weight loss, it’s so, so easy to get discouraged and just give up altogether. If your resolution is tied to weight loss of some sort, try to make it a little bit smaller – for example, resolve to yourself that you’ll lose two pounds a month. The amount is small and manageable, and while it may seem like a drop in the bucket of your larger goals, trust us – before you know it, you’ll be well on your way to your weight loss goal without stressing as much as if you had tasked yourself with a gargantuan goal.
9. Save more money
Okay, if your resolution is to save more money, let’s be real – though you might succeed at first, by February, you’ll find yourself justifying every cute dress and bestselling book as a necessary purchase. Before you know it, you’ll be back to square one because, well, why would you save for an abstract reason when you’re confronted with very real, very tempting purchases? In order to truly be successful, most people need to at least have something in mind that they’re saving for – even if that’s far in the future. Perhaps you already know you want to retire early, so you want to start contributing to that goal ASAP. Perhaps you dream of owning your own home, complete with a white picket fence and little backyard, so you’re trying to save up a certain down payment. It makes it a lot more motivating to see the balance in your account inching higher when you can envision exactly what you’re saving for.
8. Make more money
This resolution is just terrible because, well, who on earth doesn’t want to make more money? Sure, money certainly doesn’t buy happiness, but it can buy a lot of things that make your life a lot easier, so why wouldn’t you want to increase your earnings as much as possible? Well, while the goal is one many have, the resolution is terrible because it’s not clear enough. Perhaps making more money means finding a job that pays a little bit better. Perhaps it involves finding a side hustle that you love. Perhaps it involves taking a few classes to learn a lucrative new skill you think you can later transform into a higher earning potential. Every individual has a different skill set, a different set of circumstances, and a different career path – so you need to find out what making more money looks like to you, and create some concrete goals rather than just telling yourself you’d like more. After all, you can’t exactly just plant a money tree and harvest it month after month.
7. Start your dream project
As most responsible adults know, there’s a difference between having a dream and having enough to pay the bills. Sure, it can be incredibly satisfying to imagine becoming an entrepreneur who is at the helm of a hugely successful business. However, again, this resolution requires a lot of mini-resolutions to make it happen. If you have a certain big dream that you’ve always wanted to make a reality, it would be frankly a little bit stupid to just jump into the deep end and try to make it happen – sure, it occasionally works for some people, but for many others, that’s a good way to empty your bank account with nothing to show for it. If you’re truly wanting to pursue a passion project in the new year, try to break it down into smaller steps – perhaps you start by doing a few gigs on the side while working your regular 9 to 5, or vow to dedicate every Saturday to working on your dream.
6. Take things to the next level in your relationship
There are certain relationship and love-related goals you can definitely work on – for example, resolving to become a more effective communicator in your relationship is a fantastic resolution. However, making a resolution to get some type of commitment out of your partner is, well, a little bit awful. No one likes an ultimatum, and be honest with yourself – will you be as happy getting a proposal when you know it mostly happened because you’ve been putting pressure on your guy? The answer is likely no. If you really feel like you’re wasting your time and you want to know if your long-term relationship is actually going to go somewhere, then you need to resolve to have some serious conversations over the course of the year with your partner to make sure you’re on the same page – an obligation proposal will accomplish nothing except making everyone involved unhappy, and that benefits absolutely no one.
5. Work out every. single. day.
Look, fitness-based resolutions are absolutely fantastic – who could ever say anything bad about incorporating more activity into your life and creating healthy habits? Making regular exercise a part of your life is a fantastic goal and will give you so many benefits apart from the physical changes you might see in your body. However, resolving to work out every single day is an awful resolution because, well, you’re a human being and you have a life. One day you’ll have to stay late at work and not be able to squeeze in your evening workout, or you’ll hurt your knee on a run and might worsen the injury by trying to continue your gruelling schedule without taking time to rest. Resolving to exercise on a regular basis is a great resolution, but working out every single day is not – you need to learn to listen to your body. If you’re feeling fantastic and want to work out several days in a row, that’s absolutely fine – but if you tell yourself you absolutely cannot skip a single day, you’re likely to beat yourself up when life interferes and you find yourself unable to hit the gym a certain day.
4. Say “no” to treating yourself
If you’ve noticed that you might be indulging a little more often than your wallet (or waistline) might want, it can be tempting to resolve to stop treating yourself – after all, you don’t really need those treats, right? Well, this is another case of a resolution that takes things a little bit too far. Should you be splurging every single time you step foot outside of your home or apartment? Absolutely not. However, if you take away every little treat in your life, well, you’ll end up miserable and likely eventually erupt in a huge binge or shopping spree to indulge in all the treats you’ve been denying yourself. Totally cutting out treats is an awful resolution — a better solution would be to cap your treats, perhaps at one a week or one a month, in order to get rid of some bad habits without driving yourself completely insane with deprivation.
3. Go full throttle at a new hobby
Developing a fun hobby is a wonderful resolution — many individuals nowadays find that they don’t really have a productive and fulfilling hobby, and instead waste all of their free time scrolling through social media or binge-watching something on Netflix. Hobbies are great. However, particularly during resolution season, many people commit to far more than they should and bite off more than they can chew. For example, you’ve read countless articles about the positive benefits of meditation, so you resolve to meditate for an hour every morning. Yikes. While it might work for some, you’ll likely end up frustrated, trying to carve out the time and trying to master the practice, and end up abandoning it altogether. The same goes for any hobby – if you truly enjoy it and find yourself rearranging your schedule to accommodate it, great. However, don’t try to turn a hobby into what is essentially a part-time job by resolving to clock in a certain number of hours every week.
2. Negative resolutions
For many people, when they look at their habits and behaviours, it’s easy to single out things you’d like to stop doing – you want to stop eating so much junk food, stop wasting so much time on the internet, stop binge-watching hours and hours of television every weekend, etc. However, creating a resolution that is essentially a negative, a requirement to cut something out of your life, is kind of a bummer – it requires you to focus on things you’re trying to avoid, and you’ll end up beating yourself up if you fail. Instead of creating resolutions of what not to do or consume, word your resolutions more positively – instead of saying that you want to stop eating junk food, resolve to incorporate a green smoothie every day, or to make a healthy, home-cooked meal at least three times a week. Instead of resolving to stop wasting time on the internet, resolve to reserve some of the time you’d normally spend doing that to engage in hobbies or spend time with friends.
1. Last year’s resolutions
The whole point of new year’s resolutions is to take stock of what you want to achieve in the bright, fresh, shiny new year and make a few goals. Basically, it’s about trying to live your best life, to slay in whatever facet of your life you want to slay in that particular year. It’s a fresh start. So, why on earth would you kick things off by digging through last year’s resolutions? Sure, you may still have some of the same concerns – perhaps you’re still not exercising as regularly as you want, or you’re still indulging in a few too many desserts. However, if you’re resolving to do something, it’s probably because you didn’t accomplish it last year – which means you’re starting off the new year by dwelling on your previous failures. That’s awful! Give yourself a fresh start and at least re-frame some of your previous resolutions so you can truly channel the reserve of motivation that a fresh year can inspire.