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  • Writer's pictureFiona Hewkin Counselling

Why New Year Resolutions Are a Terrible Idea

Updated: Feb 7, 2023

New year resolutions rarely work, and I’ve been thinking about why that is. All over the place there are people telling us to get thinner, get fitter do this do that. Lifestyle gurus and coaches telling us to make “realistic” goals and to stick to them. Not me, I’m a one-woman resolution resistance! Why on earth would I wait all year to make some life changing decision when I know full well, I am unlikely to stick to it. 75% of all New year resolutions are dead in the water by the second week in January anyway. I know because I still have an unused yoga mat gathering dust in my study! 😉 (and I don't look much like the woman in this picture either!)

Yoga Pose - New Year resolutions. Fiona Hewkin Counselling

I’m not Good Enough

The trouble with resolutions is that they are based in self-loathing at some level. I’m too fat, too unfit, to something. Nasty negative self-talk that says you are not ok unless you change into someone different. The whole "new year, new me" thing is just rubbish. Why do we need to be new, different, someone else? What if I told you that you are enough, just as you are?

The Problem with Goals

Everyone says it’s good to have goal, right? They can be helpful and motivating, they can give us something to work towards. There is a problem with them though. They come from a place of scarcity. Goals highlight the gap between where we are right now and where we want to be, they can make us feel inadequate and less than. The nature of goals can hurt our self confidence and self esteem in the here and now. We tend to think that we will only be happy when we reach whatever goal we have set. “I will feel better when I am a size 8,” “I will be happy when I can run 10k” The trouble with those kinds of goals is they tell us we can’t be happy as we are right now. If we are always chasing goals, when is it ok to just stop and enjoy life right where we are?

It’s Not the Right Time for Big Changes

The timing is all wrong to be making big changes. We are in the middle of winter in the northern hemisphere. Historically this is a time to rest, almost to hibernate. The days are short, and the nights are dark. I think this is a time for reflection not big sparkly change.

Make things Achievable

I’m not saying we shouldn’t make changes, we could probably all benefit from exercising more, eating better, drinking more water and getting more sleep. If you want to implement change, start small. Rather than a new crash diet, just decide to eat a few more portions of veg. You don’t have to decide to run in the next London marathon, but you can go for a walk in your lunch hour.

How and why, we make decisions to change are important. Can we let those decisions come from a place of care and self-compassion?

Be kind to yourself and make the changes you want from a place of care. Know that you are enough just as you are, there is nothing lacking in you. Just carry on being fabulous!

Patsy from Absolutely Fabulous - New years resolutions. Fiona Hewkin Counselling


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