Are New Year’s Resolutions Bullshit?

HaPpY NeW YeAr!!!

Now let’s address this tough title. I think it’s time that we start facing facts… The fact is that a majority of us will come up with all kinds of cool changes we want to make in our life and follow through with them for a few days, a few weeks, or even a few months… But, we won’t keep them as life long changes. In essence, we will fail.

I am not a big fan of new year’s resolutions (because I think you should strive to make yourself better EVERY day, not once per year – Kaizen, people!) However, I know that many people set resolutions and it is fun to hear and support them. So let’s take advantage of this new year and do something different this year. Let’s set some measurable goals and stick to them!!!

Who’s with me?

Before we set off on this grueling task, let’s take a quick look at why so many folks fail. I believe the main reason for failure is not proper follow through with maintaining and tracking the goals. If that is true, than we can easily cure this. We should write down our goals and track them on a regular basis.

My plan is to put my goals/resolutions in writing (on this post and on printed paper). I will also do a quarterly blog article about my goals (and anyone else who responds here with goals) that lays out my goal progress throughout the 2014 year. In this way, I hope to better myself by keeping my wants and needs on my immediate radar!

I’m sort of contradicting myself (I do that sometimes), by starting this post bashing New Year’s resolutions and then asking you to create some. My point was to make sure that we do things differently by following through and actually accomplishing some (or all) of these!

Hypocrisy aside, here is my resolution/goal list for 2014:

Vaughn’s 2014 Goals/Resolutions

  • Do something special for Kristine;
  • Start my new(ish) career and get back on track;
  • Continue the debt turnaround (path to becoming a financial wizard);
  • Turn up the training for triathlons;
  • Do Mountains of Misery again and stay in the saddle for both hills;
  • Start 5/3/1 weight lifting routine and get stronger;
  • New Military Press PR (personal record) of 150 pounds;
  • New Deadlift PR of 315 pounds;
  • New Bench Press PR of 235 pounds;
  • New Squat PR of 275 pounds;
  • Preparation for Mt. Rainier in July 2015;
  • Publish Decrypted;
  • Finish Weapon 67 (my second fictional title);
  • Finish outline for non-fictional book, (title pending for a “growing up” book) and get agent approval;
  • Start super-secret business idea and start ball rolling;
  • Work with Hemophilia Foundation of MD (HFM) on the board and make progress;
  • Continue focusing on this (HealthyWealthyTribe) blog and update at least twice per week.

    Feel free to put your goal list for 2014 in the comments below. That way we can track each other’s goals and how we’re doing throughout the year.

    Note: If you comment on this post with goals/resolutions, you will be held accountable and called out in my quarterly update post about goals!!! So beware! That said, if you’re like me, that will only incentivize you to participate!

    Here’s the goals/resolution post schedule for 2014:

  • Wednesday, January 1, 2014 – This initial post
  • Tuesday, April 1, 2014 (April Fool’s Day!!!) – Our first quarterly check-in
  • Tuesday, July 1, 2014 – Our second Quarterly check-in
  • Wednesday, October 1, 2014 – Our third Quarterly check-in
  • Wednesday, December 31, 2014 – Our final check-in and evaluation

    So… What are your New Year’s resolutions for 2014?

    Your friendly neighborhood motivator,

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    About Vaughn Ripley

    Vaughn is a happily married daddy, author, and CIO. He is an HIV+ hemophiliac, and is one of the longest surviving HIV+ people in the universe.
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    1. Great post Vaughn! I must say that I’m not a fan of New Year’s resolutions either. Mostly because if you really want to do something, you should decide to do it right then, and not wait for an arbitrary date to start. But, if you happen to be reflective on New Years Day and come up with a goal for yourself, all the better. So I’d rather call them 2014 objectives than New Years resolutions 🙂

      That being said, some of my objectives for this year are:
      — Staying fit in ways that are not dangerous to me, including exercising at least 5-6 days a week
      — Doing at least 3 different kinds of exercise on a regular basis to mix things up (e.g., running, swimming, cycling, lifting, hiking). Bonus points if I can get up to 4 modalities on a weekly basis.
      — Maintaining my weight. Bonus points for dropping 5 lbs.
      — Maintaining or growing my running group.
      — Visiting my mom and sister at least 3 times.
      — Helping my son to stay fit and pursue any sports activities he is interested in (right now learning to swim, hiking, running).
      — Going out on a date night with my husband at least once a quarter. Bonus points for going monthly.

      I love that your goals above are measurable Vaughn! My other personal goals are less measurable (e.g., spend lots of time with my family) or are more subject to change based on the other dimensions of life (e.g., continue to maintain/grow my work – not sure if I want to maintain or grow yet). So while they are critical to me, I don’t think they qualify for the list.

      Thanks as always for the inspiration, and Happy New Year!!!

      • Exactly, Andrea! Excellent response! And, I love your “bonus” add-on goals that accentuate your objectives. Brilliant!

        Thank you for sharing!

        Happy New Year!


    2. Rockatanski says:

      I understand why folks don’t like Bew Years resolutions, but I don’t think people reflect enough so NY provides a good opportunity to recalibrate and set some goals.

      The tracking is a great idea.

    3. For my resolution: make religion part of every day, by the end of the year will be debt free, loose my final 10 pounds, and finally….. allow myself to learn the art of forgiving, compassion, and loving towards others.

    4. I made a resolution about 10 years ago not to make resolutions anymore because they were always just words. I decided yesterday that it was time for a change and that the turn of the year was a wonderful place to allow myself a clean slate. So I’m breaking the only resolution I’ve ever kept and resolving to make measurable changes in myself.

      And, of course, I am starting slow since changing is pretty difficult. I am going to work on keeping track of my improvements with a notebook, since checking things off makes me feel good about what I’ve done. My goals are to better manage my time, make a reasonable schedule for myself to adhere to each day, cook more often, read at least one book a month, and do one project for myself each month to completion.

      I also have set a six month reminder on my calendar to look over my accomplishments so that I can be sure to make adjustments as necessary in order to keep myself on track.

      • Awesome, Sara! I love the clean slate idea! And, I love that you’re figuring this out and making a change. I agree that starting slow is a good path to success. The reminder idea is great and will keep you on track!


    5. Dan McNally says:

      There is no shame in trying, but being unsuccessful, in trying to reach a goal. The shame is in never trying. My goals for 2013? Enjoy my life and help my wife, family, and friends to do the same . . . my 65th year is half over and I’m a happy man.

    6. Hi Vaughn,
      I agree with your stance on resolutions. I see it more as getting back in the saddle after Christmas time-off and gluttony. My husband and I spend New Year’s Eve talking about our plans and goals for the year and planning vacations/trips. It’s our annual tradition, and I love it, esp. the trip planning part!

      Because I just started my new freelance writing/editing business this past year, I have a business plan with some measurable goals, but basically I need to work my butt off to make my first full year as a new business successful so I can pay my bills and keep the business going.

      I also have personal goals in that plan, to be sure I keep a good work-life balance and continue to strive for a mentally and physically healthy and rewarding life. Some of my personal goals:

      1. Reduce my 5K time to 25 minutes by the end of 2014.
      2. Go on monthly date nights with my husband + use our firepit more and go on more weekend camping trips together.
      3. Email/write my brother at least once a month (he’s in the military).
      4. Schedule my work so I can spend time back home in Indiana for about 2 weeks this summer.
      5. Cut way back on soda, ie., Sprite. (I already gave up caffeine in 2009.)
      6. Improve core strength and do more strength training.

    7. TylerDurdinUMD says:

      I love New Years Resolutions! While I’m also in favor a kaizen and tweaking as you go, doing a detailed review of my life and what I can improve yeilds fruit for me every time. Might as well do it in January!

      1) Be a better father: listen more, make more small time, yell less
      2) Get a new job
      3) Fitness Metrics: get weight <195, squat 135×10, deadlift 195×10, Clean&Jerk 135×5, Pullups x5, Dips x10; get flexible enough to squat below parallel with wide stance heels
      4) Do a 'new' fitness event for me – something not already checked off
      5) Get the cub scout pack in order
      6) Get 20 minor projects done around the house

      • Eric,

        You’re a perfect example of someone who sets goals and follows through. You are the exception! BTW – those are some GREAT goals for 2014!

        Thanks for the input,

      • Eric Wescott says:

        Year in Review:

        1) Be a better father: listen more, make more small time, yell less – I know I’m doing better here.

        2) Get a new job – CHECK! Kind of vital as the last place closed.

        3) Fitness Metrics:
        get weight <195, – CHECK! Won the Transformation Challenge for my Gym, and stayed there.
        squat 135×10, – CHECK! It's my limit, but I'm there.
        deadlift 195×10, – CHECK!
        Clean&Jerk 135×5, – NOPE. 135×2 is my best. A pulled forearm muscle put me back this summer. A place for continued improvement.
        Pullups x5, – CHECK!
        Dips x10; – CHECK!
        get flexible enough to squat below parallel with wide stance heels – OBE. This became a bad goal, because arbitrary stance width isn't the right thing to look at. It's mobility of joints and movement patterns (which also need work).

        4) Do a 'new' fitness event for me – something not already checked off – CHECK! MudManX with my son.

        5) Get the cub scout pack in order – PARTIAL. Things are running smooth but more work is needed.

        6) Get 20 minor projects done around the house – MAYBE. I did a ton or projects this year, especially during the 2-week break between jobs, but not sure if I hit 20. Need to count.


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