Q&A Tuesday: What do you think of New Year’s resolutions?

There’s two more days of 2008. The long-standing traditions of New Year’s Eve include champagne, parties, dancing, games, holding your eyelids open until midnight… and making resolutions.

You can probably guess today’s Q&A:

Do you make new year’s resolutions? Why or why not? And by golly, why do you think they’re so hard to keep?

I actually love New Year’s Eve and Day, and I personally love the idea of resolutions. Being the goal-setter and list-maker that I am, though, that’s not surprising. Whether I keep the resolutions, however, is another thing altogether.

What about you?

Tsh Oxenreider

Tsh is the founder of this blog and just finished traveling around the world with her husband and 3 kids. Her latest book is Notes From a Blue Bike, and believes a passport is one of the world's greatest textbooks.

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  1. We’ve always done our new year’s resolutions together, but this year we decided to do it a little differently. We’re going to make 2 copies of our list– then seal one of the copies in an envelope until next New Year’s Eve. I lose stuff all the time, so the one in the envelope will, most likely, serve as a reminder of what I was supposed to do all year.
    We think it will be a nice was to reflect on how much we’ve grown in a year; some of our resolutions from today may be outgrown or surmounted by next year… or possibly even more important to resolve again if we let it slide this year. We’ll see.

    joan´s last blog post…Santa! Part I

    • Just a suggestion so you don’t lose them– put them in your stockings when you take down the Christmas decoration. When you decorate next year…voila!

  2. usually no, i do not make resolutions. I think about life changes i would like to make and work towards them. i feel the traditional resolutions are to “much pressure” though, like starting a “diet”. A life change allows for trip’s and hopping back up again!

  3. Like you, I LOVE the idea of New Year’s Resolutions…I love lists, I love the idea of a new, fresh state — a clean slate. Last year, I wrote them in the back of my Mom Agenda… and put the date of the day I actually completed the item… they ranged from “Have Healthy Baby”, “Figure Out Name for Baby”, “Renovate Kitchen”, “Buy Life Insurance”, to smaller things such as “Buy Christmas Decoration Storage Boxes” and “Throw Parties” ! I like having everything on the same list… and then at the end of the year seeing what I accomplished, what still needs to be done, and what just doesn’t seem important any longer. I actually completed about 75% of them last year : )

  4. I am making a resolution this year inspired by you. I am going to buy things with cash in my wallet. (I am also doing your book club) I don’t always make resolutions but I want to this year. I am also going to stop drinking diet coke. I am so addicted!

  5. Love ’em, but can’t keep ’em!

    bee´s last blog post…Time to ‘Tend to 2009

  6. Like you, I LOVE lists! And making plans! I am a relentless resolution maker. I am taking a different perspective on them this year, however, because I so often fall short of my goals. I know what I need is more of Him, less of me. I’ll be posting about that later this week.

    Megan@SortaCrunchy´s last blog post…Shivering, snuggling, and semi-sabbatical

  7. I like New Year’s resolutions, mostly because I’m a list-maker, like you. However, I think they’re so hard to keep because we set ourselves up for failure by how we make the resolutions. For example, once I decided to give up soft drinks for the entire year. That’s all well and good, but on my birthday, by golly, I wanted a Coke. I’m not saying they shouldn’t be a challenge, but I do think they should be attainable.

    Happy New Year’s, everybody!

  8. My perfectionistic tendencies have in the past made me give up on my resolutions. I tend not to make them because I fail in keeping them. This year, God is teaching me that improvement is a process. So, like Turtle above, I like to think of the idea of life change instead, and I am always trying to get better at everything I do. It is an uphill battle having a 2, 4 and 6 year old while watching another 2 year old.

  9. I love the new years, and this year I want to try something a little different. I love the idea of resolutions, but I rarely keep them. I am writing all this week about what I plan to do instead! I think the thing I am most excited about is something I know has been mentioned on here before, which is setting family goals with my partner. This is the first year we are setting goals together and I think it will be fun, as well as extra motivation to reach our goals.

    Lucie @ Unconventional Origins´s last blog post…Introduction: Ringing in the New Year at Unconventional Origins

  10. I have made resolutions in the past, and like most of you, haven’t kept them. I think maybe because we tend to look at resolutions as short term goals. Things we need to accomplish in one year. What I desire is life changes. Things that will make my life and the lives of those around me better. So yes, I do have a list I’m working on..but not for the coming year…for the rest of my life.

  11. I’m a terrific list-maker and goal-setter but have *terrible* follow through. I don’t know if I’ll be making any resolutions other than my book list. That is the one thing I did decently on this past year.

    Heidi @ Mt Hope´s last blog post…Reading Round-Up 2008

  12. I don’t make them because they don’t last. If you want to quit smoking, then quit, if you want to loose weight, loose it. A day at the beginning of the year is not powerfull enough to make those things happen, only you have the power and you have that power every day of the year.

  13. V. Higgins says:

    I love New Year’s, but the hardest thing for me is staying awake past 9:30! 😛 I’ve never been much of a resolutions person, I tend to be a perfectionist so past failed attemps can be a lot of baggage when attempting new things. But I’m learning to just enjoy life while making goals and remembering that it’s not about how many times you fall but what matters is that you keep getting up. I’m learning to turn to Him when I stumble and let Him change me instead of telling myself that “I just need to try harder”.
    This year I hope to continue in the new paths that I’ve found (simplifying, decluttering, financial responsibility, calmness) and just keep seeking Him when everything starts to go topsy-turvy. Thank you for your posts, you’re one of my main encouragements to keep going!

  14. i’m a goal setter, but i never set new year’s resolutions, unless it’s in the most general sense. i think these goals are hard to keep because they’re usually lofty: “i’m going to work out 5 times a week all year!” then the first time we mess up, we feel like we’ve screwed up and the year is already ruined and there’s no point continuing. we’ll just try again “next year.” for me, goals are more effective if i make them ongoing and continuously modify them. i rarely tie them into a time frame. that way, as long as i’m working hard, i feel successful, even if i have little slip-ups along the way, or don’t accomplish something as fast as i’d hoped. as soon as i include time as a factor, the pressure seems to multiply…and nothing is more an impediment to accomplishing my goals than feeling like a failure.

    so my resolutions go more like this: “i’m going to continue working on getting out of debt. i’m going to continue this circuit workout program that i’ve just begun.” some people need a time frame to stay on task, but for me, it seems to work more against me than for me. probably because i’m obsessive about my goals and can be very (too) hard on myself.

    i do think that saying, “i will accomplish this by this date” has limitation built into it. if you miss that date, it’s so easy to say, “well, i’ve failed” and give up. if the goal is a behavior, it’s not so easy to jump off the wagon. i think saying, “this year i will…” can have the same limitation built in if the goal is too specific and doesn’t allow for some slippage without a feeling of failure.

    amber´s last blog post…ambyrle: @DaveJMatthews why does my mind immediately leap to the naughty place when you say "shaved"

  15. I don’t usually do anything formal in regard to resolutions. 2008 was such a crazy, stressful year for us though. Drama, drama, drama. We’re considering doing a little burning ceremony to let go of anger and negativity so that we can start 2009 with a fresh attitude. I am looking forward to a new year.

    Ashlie- Mommycosm´s last blog post…I Can Make You Thin by Paul McKenna

  16. I don’t think whole year resolutions are very feasible-they tend to get overwhelming and then I just forget about them. This year I am going to set one goal a month, whether it be a project around the house or a habit I want to develop (only 30 days to a new habit!!), I’ll set something smaller and more attainable. If you want to read more about what am I doing (and join in! :)) I’d love to have you!!

  17. I honestly don’t do them – it’s just the wrong time of year to try to change any habit. Coming down off the holidays, sliding into dark winter – the deck is stacked against you.

    I do, however, try to make one or two resolutions on my Birthday (in September) – really just to myself. Those usually stand a much better chance!!

    Em´s last blog post…How’s your carbon footprint doin’?

  18. I’ve never been a big New Year’s resolution person… not sure why. I appreciate goals – but, they aren’t a bit motivator for me. In the past I haven’t paid that much attention to making resolutions for the year to come. I have always enjoyed the thought of a fresh start and I do love the New Year – but, for some reason, resolutions have never been something I’ve done. This year, however, I find myself longing for change… my hubby and I have talked a lot about changes we would like to make or see this year and those, in a way, have become our resolutions. I guess that is really what resolutions are… a commitment to some sort of change… hmmm….

  19. I love New Year’s Resolutions, and I really like the idea one of the commenters had about making a list, putting it in the back of my planner, and keeping myself accountable by writing the dates of completion by them. I have learned time and time again that the best goals are SMART goals – Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timely.

    I think the reason so many New Year’s Resolutions last for a day or two and then are left by the wayside is that they are monstrous, pipe dream-type goals without any solid way of making them happen. So often they are like trying to eat the whole elephant in one sitting, rather than taking one bite at a time.

    Okay, now I’m stepping down off my soapbox. 🙂

    Kelley´s last blog post…Princess or Tomboy

  20. I make the same resolution every year… and every year, I fail at it. My resolution? To floss my teeth regularly 🙂 Honestly, I don’t know why it’s so hard to make a new habit of this but I can never make it stick.

    I don’t really make any other resolutions, I just try to work on the family and personal goals we’ve set, which include saving for specific things, a list of places to travel to, etc.

  21. I don’t mind resolutions. They can be fun. I don’t make too many of them, lest I get carried away and bite off more than I can chew.

    As a stay at home mom, a more important thing is to look back at what I’ve done. The days slip by and it often feels like I don’t accomplish anything. Writing down a list if what I did, really helps.

    Avlor´s last blog post…Completed Project – Funky Tie

  22. nope, I don’t make them. I try to make mini-resolutions throughout the year instead.

    Amiyrah´s last blog post…New Year, exciting times on 4 Hats!

  23. I have made countless resolutions over the years, only to have them all fail with in the first week or two of the new year. So, this year, my resolution is to not have a resolution! I want to take 2009 one day at a time. I do have projects and what not that need to be done and I love the idea about writing things down in the back of your agenda and then dating it when it’s finished, I think I am going to give that a try.

    Happy New Year everyone!!!

  24. I try not to make our new year’s resolutions too specific (I will lose 10 lbs,/go to the gym/etc.) otherwise they don’t stick. I also try to just pick ONE thing to work on that year. So in 2007, our resolution was “be responsible with money.” Over the course of the year, we stopped using credit cards entirely, and then paid off the balances of most of our credit cards (believe it or not, we had been making $1200 in credit card payments a month! Now we pay about $200 a month).

    In 2008, our resolution was “be healthier.” We cut corn syrup, preservatives, trans-fats, hydrogenated oils, fast food, soda, and gluten out of our diets. We also stopped eating out, and we tried to eat lots of vegetables, whole grains, and plant protein. We also tried to be realistic about exercise – we canceled our gym memberships (we decided we HATE going to the gym) and tried to take a walk every day. Results: we both lost weight, we feel great, my blood pressure dropped It’s been high for years), and after years of infertility, our first baby is on the way.

    2009: Have a baby and be a good parents. I think that’s enough for one year!

    Rebecca´s last blog post…How to Annoy Me

    • Rebecca I really like the wholistic view for a specific goal and that you made so many significant changes each year. I love that you can name so many improvements from each year!

      My plan for this year was to have Monthly Intentions because that is a time frame I can better handle, but I think I’d like to make the overall 2009 goal be Happiness. I don’t know if all my Monthly Intentions would deal directly with Happiness but we’ll see. It seems pretty vague right now – How do you intentionally GET more Happiness? – but I’m working on it! I’ve been thinking about it a lot these past few weeks, esp when I’m much grumpier than I should be with my family and just having the word to remember during those times has been helpful.

      Congratulations on your baby! What a wonderful time!

  25. This is the first year I am making a New Year’s resolution and I even wrote a post about it on my blog today! I have never been much of a fan of resolutions because it seems like they can be so hard to keep. But I think the key is a good plan and clear strategy. My resolution this year is to get into meal planning!

    Sarah H.´s last blog post…New Year’s Resolutions – The Key to Success

  26. I love New Year’s resolutions, but, as with everyone, rarely keep them.
    So starting last year, I took and idea from Christine Kane, a singer/life coach (find her blog at http://www.christinekane.com/blog and she’ll tell you all about it) and I chose one word, just one, to be my touchstone for the year. Last year my word was Attention, because I wanted to pay more attention to my life, my joys, my blessings, my money, my health, etc. Throughout the year whenever I struggled with something, I always came back to that word. It didn’t work every time, but it got me thinking in the right direction.

    This year my word is going to be Thoughtful and I have chosen a handful of areas to focus my thoughfulness on: 1) money; 2)family and friends, esp. my husband, my children, and my mom; 3) managing my household (with help from your blog, actually); and 4) writing. I want to be proactive, think about what I’m doing in these areas, think about my goals, my values, the other person…or just plain take time to think, instead of being reactive all of the time. I plan to print the word out on paper in nice fonts and place it over my desk, by my bed, on my fridge and use it to remind me of how I want to live my life.

    It seems better than making a bunch of resolutions I don’t keep. Try Christine’s blog (No she’s not paying me, she doesn’t even know me) for some more words-of-the-year that others have used.

    Happy New Year!

    wesleyjeanne´s last blog post…31 Days of Joy::29

  27. I do but I don’t. The beginning of the year always makes me reflect on things I would like to do better, but I think I quit a few years ago actually “making” resolutions. For me, I think this idea offers one the opportunity to procrastinate something for the “New Year”, instead of just doing it.

    Wendy´s last blog post…Christmas morning funny

  28. This year, I decided to set a resolution, but I started yesterday (so does it still count?). We’re eating more healthy and having our 19 month old eat what we eat. It’s a win/win situation. Since I refuse to allow my son to grow up with the bad eating habits my husband and I have set into, I’ve been feeding him his own dinners (healthy, of course), but still making indulgent meals for my husband and I. So, I am not making a dinner unless I would feel comfortable having my son eat it, too. Hopefully, everyone benefits.

    Then, there’s the re-commitments to the other resolutions as well … de-clutter the house (I’m half-way there), have another kid (we’re trying), and spend less time on the computer (well, I’m not perfect).

    Nata-Leigh Preas´s last blog post…The Letter E

  29. I always make resolutions, but only so-so on keeping them… but I never loose hope that this year will be the year I keep them!

  30. Resolutions can be fun, I don’t always make or keep them but today I discovered one I would like to… Philippians 2:1-4If you’ve gotten anything at all out of following Christ, if his love has made any difference in your life, if being in a community of the Spirit means anything to you, if you have a heart, if you care— then do me a favor: Agree with each other, love each other, be deep-spirited friends. Don’t push your way to the front; don’t sweet-talk your way to the top. Put yourself aside, and help others get ahead. Don’t be obsessed with getting your own advantage. Forget yourselves long enough to lend a helping hand. (The Message)

  31. I love the idea of a fresh start too. It gives me a chance to clean the slate and try to do in the year what I really want to do with my life. Usually it has to do with being healthier etc, but it’s also a great time to help me focus on where I want my life to be and what my true priorities are. I tend to start over a lot during the year but somehow New Years is different.

  32. Who doesn’t love a good list? I’ve made really long lists of resolutions in previous years–vague things like “lose weight” and “exercise more” or really outlandish things like “read five books a week, learn Latin, and solve world hunger.” Okay, never quite that dramatic, but you get the idea.

    I actually just posted about my more manageable, specific goals; these are things that are really within my reach but still challenges, things that I’ve wanted to do for a long time, things that make me excited to do and not just write about like in the past!

    Marian´s last blog post…Ah, New Year’s

  33. I love NY resolutions mostly because of the time of the year in which they come. No silly, not New Year’s but just after Christmas. At a time when we celebrate the birth of Christ, we still have (or should have) that glow that comes with the greatest gift this world has received, a Savior to atone for our sins. It is a humbling time in which we can honestly examine ourselves & look to make our lives “better” in some way. Temporally, we may set goals to lose weight, become more organized or spend quality time with our spouses. Spiritually, we can re-commit to our paths towards Spirituality. But my “secret” to sucess is asking the Lord for help! I try to live my religion every day & I’m not one to be “preachy” (my friends will die if they read this post); but it is true, it works for me! I make my goals specific, managable & attainable. I also enlist a friend or my hubby to keep me accountable. I use my daily journal to record my goals along with my efforts towards meeting the goals or having to adapt them. That’s another big part, course changes are allowable & often needed. And there is nothing wrong with that! Happy Goal Setting!

  34. Okay, one more. I’ve been reading Stephen Covey’s “First Things First.” As result of that, I want to make my new goals be in line with his great philosophy – “to live, to love, to learn, to leave a legacy.” THAT is something I want to get behind!

    Kelley´s last blog post…Resolution time!

  35. My husband and I spend time praying together in the season between Christmas and New Year’s. We pray for our kids, our goals and mainly for a vision for the New Year.

    I try to review my goals daily and evaluate monthly. A year is too long …

    Mary´s last blog post…Some encouraging thoughts for those getting a later financial start…

  36. I have been making the same resolution for the last 5 years – you guessed it- to lose weight. And I have failed each year. Again in 2009 I will resolve to lose my ‘baby’ weight (my daughter will be 7 in Jan!) I am not sure why resolutions fail. I guess if we knew that we might be able to prevent them from failing. 🙂 So, another new year, another attempt for me. I hope that one year from today I can choose another resolution – or none at all… Happy New Year!

    Debra´s last blog post…Happy New Year…

  37. I usually make a resolution or two, but I have only ever really kept is to start taking vitamins. I made that one 10 years ago. The rollcall of vitamins keeps increasing!

    Rae Ann´s last blog post…Read Any Good Books Lately?

  38. I make New Year resolutions every year. The process of considering our priorities and thinking about what we want to achieve and how to go about meeting these personal goals is very important to me. Having resolutions keep me focused in my efforts, even if it is just for a few months in the beginning of the year. It is a wonderful way to begin a brand new year, with plenty of hopes and positive attitude.

    Happy New Year everyone! ^.^

    Domesticgoddess´s last blog post…Tickling Fun

  39. I like making resolutions during the new year because I like the idea of “starting fresh” though I make various goals throughout the year in general. As long as I take these resolutions one step at a time, I usually accomplish them.

    Carla´s last blog post…Homemade Reusable Grocery Store Bags

  40. i like the idea of New Year’s resolutions in theory – but i really believe more in the idea of making changes when you are aware that a change needs to be made, not waiting for a particular day of the year.

    still – the fresh start that the New Year seems to offer is always a good time to re-evaluate things.

    Krista´s last blog post…Book Review: The Moon Shines Down

  41. i never make new years resolutions. i know i won’t keep them so i may set a goal or goals, but i don’t get down on myself if i can’t keep it.

    Amy N.´s last blog post…Dec 30 – POTD

  42. Now I like to make my lists, but as far as resolutions go — I’ve made them before and broken them — so I don’t really like to call them hard core resolutions. I’m making a list of things I’d like to learn or do for the new year and hope they take — I’ll call them suggestive improvements for lack of a better name. 😉 No, really I don’t want to call them anything — I’m just gonna put them down on a piece of paper & at the end of the year see how many of them stuck. (Maybe I’ll sneak a peek midway through the year, but I’d like to take my will out of it.)

    Suzy:)´s last blog post…Reflecting…

  43. I posted today that I think I never wanted to make New Year’s resolutions because they implied that I was broken, and I was resolving to “fix” myself. But when you look up “resolve” in your buddy the dictionary, the definition goes:
    To make a firm decision about.
    To cause (a person) to reach a decision.
    To decide or express by formal vote.
    To change or convert.
    To find a solution to; solve.
    To remove or dispel doubt.
    To bring to an unusually successful conclusion.
    To cause progression from dissonance to consonance.

    So we resolve to make firm decisions and find solutions. To move from discord to harmony, and bring the year to an unusually successful conclusion.

    That I think I can do.

    robin´s last blog post…Looking Back on 2008

  44. I won’t be making big goals for the year 2009. (Last year I made 7 big goals, and reach none of them.) Instead, I will be making mini-goals that help me to redeem the time. See my post here: http://psalm37v4.blogspot.com/search/label/Redeeming%20the%20Time

    Tami´s last blog post…2009 Mini-Goals

  45. I am a listmaker/goal setter as well. I don’t like resolutions, per se, in the I will do these 10 things with no real plan of action sense, but goals … goals I can fall in love with. Happy New Year!

    Em.´s last blog post…New Year, New Goals

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