The Good and the Bad of New Years Resolutions: Setting Yourself Up for Success in 2018

HAPPY NEW YEAR! 2018, we like you already. A new year breathes an air of optimism, rebirth, growth, and mindfulness. Though many of us are spending the first day of 2018 a little hungover and a lot tired, the resolutions have been set and tomorrow is a brand new day.

As is the case every year around this time, talk of resolutions is ubiquitous. Whether it be quitting smoking, working out more, reading more books, getting into podcasts, spending more time with family, spending less money, or anything in between; most of us have got one (or five) that we are hoping to make a reality in 2018. A new year is a fantastic opportunity to reflect on the past 365 days, celebrate the days in which you thrived, the moments you’ll never forget, the people you met, and all of the memories you made; on the other side of the token, it is also an opportunity to note the areas of your life which could benefit from change or growth, moments and people which challenged you, and things you may require more or less of in your life moving forth.

The thing is, this form of goal setting can do more hard than good in some cases. Setting goals and intentions can be a wonderful exercise for self-care, growth, and self-exploration. Though, new years resolutions have some qualities that can be concerning which we must be mindful of when setting them. So, because we want you to have the most successful 2018 possible which promotes wellness, self-love, self-preservation, growth, adventure, love, and so much fun, we’ve put together a list of ways in which new years resolutions can be negative and, of course, tips to make the most positive, productive resolutions possible.

The Negative Face of New Years Resolutions

Desires on a Deadline

Resolutions are especially tricky because they come with a deadline, AKA January 1st. When we’re pressed for time and constantly being asked what our resolutions are, the chances of them being thoughtless or inauthentic are exaggerated. You know when you were a kid, about to blow out your birthday candles, and you had to think of a wish? We don’t know about you, but ours were the silliest, more rushed wishes in the world. So, when the end of December creeps up (as it always does) and it’s time to make a resolution, we often flippantly pick something we could do with or without and let it hold the space of our resolution. Goal setting is an important, special exercise between you and yourself, and doing so on a deadline can be unproductive, careless, and just plain silly.

Check Your Influence(r)s

When setting goals it can be difficult to divorce what we actually want for ourselves from what the internet tells us we want for ourselves. Do we really want to spend more time in the gym? Or are we just feeling bad about ourselves because of bodies we’re seeing on social media? Do we actually want to find love or improve our relationship? Or are we feeling discouraged by the #couplegoals we are bombarded with? It’s hard to tell what the root of our desires truly are, especially when we are constantly connected in some way, shape, or form. Striving to have someone else’s relationship, home, body, job, or life simply isn’t productive for anyone. Ask yourself, why do you want to work towards the specific goal you have in mind?

Go Big or Go Home

Imagine if you asked someone what their resolution was and they said “I’m going to try to smoke a little less,” wouldn’t you be taken aback? That’s the thing, we feel like we need to go big with our resolutions in the face of a flashy new year. The problem with this is, big resolutions tend to lean a little more to the unattainable side, leaving a whole lot of room for failure and, in turn, disappointment.


Have you heard of the term “YoYoing”? This phenomenon occurs when you set a goal, go back on your goal (or fall of the wagon as they say), start again from the beginning, then fall off again, and continue this vicious cycle either forever or until you give up entirely. When we abruptly decide on an extremely black and white outcome (such as stop eating meat or go to the gym every day, for example) and a specific start date rather than attacking it more gradually, the slip-ups will end up seeming larger and can provoke a full-stop rather than just practicing moderation.

The Shame Game

There is truly no worse feeling than shame. Being ashamed of yourself or feeling shamed by others can be an incredibly negative experience, this we know for sure. When we are being radical about our goal setting, telling the world about all that we will change in the new year, it can make us feel ashamed if things don’t pan out as planned.

Now, before we abandon resolutions all together, let’s chat about some of the ways that we can embrace what’s great about them. Goals are goals, right? They can’t be all bad! As long as we’re being mindfully about our resolutions, their intentions, and their origins, we think we’ll be A-OK. Check it out:

10 Tips to Help You Set Positive, Productive Resolutions for 2018

Select Attainable Goals

Maybe it sounds silly to say you’re going to smoke a little less rather than quitting entirely, it’s a start and it is a totally valid resolution. Think about it, if you’re interested in getting in shape but you’re unsure where to begin, why don’t you make your goal to give running a try or something of the sort. All you have to do is go for one run in the entire year, and there is absolutely no pressure to do it again if you don’t enjoy it. But, on the off chance that you do, you’ve just found a new hobby that (bonus) makes you sweat.

Don’t Force It

If you can’t think of a resolution by midnight on January 1st, who cares!? You don’t need one. It’s better to have no resolution than to put one out there that is disingenuous or that you don’t identify with. Truly, don’t worry about it if you don’t have one, just set an intention to think about setting some goals in the coming months and see where that takes you.

Try Setting Mantras Instead

Something that we find to be amazingly effective in the place of specific goals or aspirations is mantras. A mantra can be a word, phrase, or collection of either that you would like to hold close to you and have influenced you in everything that you do. A mantra can be “gratitude” and you can seek to practice gratitude in your everyday life, or “listen” if you find you could brush up on your listening or empathy skills. Hell, it can be “live, love laugh” is that’s what speaks to you! Mantras are less prescriptive and far more fluid in the way that they do not necessitate action, rather, they just promote a certain mindfulness and intention in your life. Give it a try!

Root Down or Rise Up

Getting really specific about our resolutions can leave a whole lot of room for error, so why not try broadening it out a bit? Something that we find to be effective is taking a look at yourself and your current situation and asking yourself if you need to root down or rise up. Do you need to dive into what you are currently doing, focus, be mindful, and be present? Or do you need to reach for more, expand your horizons, or make a change? Selecting root down or rise up as your resolution might put a few things in perspective and give you an idea of where to place your focus moving into a beautiful new year.

Don’t Set Deadlines

If your resolution is specific enough that it needs a deadline (if it’s even based, for example), that’s one thing, but if your resolution doesn’t need a deadline, try to avoid setting one. You see, deadlines can make things seem far more daunting as they days, weeks, and months pass by; when things are daunting sometimes we avoid them all together. If you know yourself and you know you’re a person who requires a deadline to complete a task, set one, but do some forgivingly.

You’re Still You

When it comes to new years I think it’s safe to say that we could all use a little shake to remind us that we are still ourselves and after January 1st we’ve still got to return to the same life we lead prior to the holidays. So, let’s not let our imaginations run too wild. We’re human, we form habits (good and bad), we make mistakes, and we carve out our own spaces to exist in this world; these things don’t change because we made a couple resolutions after some champaign and a kiss or two. When you’re thinking about your resolutions, look at the life you actually lead and be realistic about what could benefit that life AND what is actually possible in your current situation.

Make Your Resolutions Two-Fold, Acknowledge The Give and Take

Resolutions often include either the word “more” or “less,” or “stop” or “start.” They are often quite binary, but for some reason, they are typically only one-fold. So, we’d like to encourage you to embrace the other side of the token. If you’d like to bring in a new good habit, you may need to let go of an old bad habit to make room, and vice versa. If I want to stop drinking wine (don’t worry, wine, I would never do that to you), perhaps I should also start drinking more tea. Instead of just taking something away, we need to replace it with something so that forgotten habit doesn’t leave such an obvious space where it used to be.

Let Them Be Yours and Yours Alone

Your resolution is YOURS, you do not need to share it with anyone unless of course, you want to. The thing is, the second something leaves your lips it takes a new shape altogether, in fact, sometimes even putting something into words changes it’s meaning. If something is really special and private to you, let it be just that. This year we urge you to keep a little secret between you and you. Make yourself a special little resolution and tell no one. See what happens! It’s not often that we get information all to ourselves.

Write That Sh*t Down

It is proven that writing down your goals makes you more likely to reach them. It all comes down to the laws of attraction, what we put out into the world truly does matter, and even just the act of writing something down and making it tangible can make it seem more real and more worth going after. Write it down, look at it often, and let those goals take life, a real, psychical life.

Thank Yourself

You have got through another year on planet earth, and you should be proud. The world is filled with wonder, but it is also filled with trial and tribulations, so you deserve to be celebrated for standing where you’re standing right this moment. If you can’t think of any other resolution, let it be this: thank yourself! Thank yourself as much as possible, appreciate yourself, love yourself, and treat yourself as you would anyone who you loved because you deserve it. We are SO proud of you, we thank you, and we love you so much.

2018 is going to be special. We can feel it in our bones.

SO much love,

Psych N Sex


Britanny Burr

Britanny is a Freelance Writer and Editor with a Bachelor of Arts in English. She grew up in the Rocky Mountains and is currently dwelling in Vancouver. She loves pool parties (though they are few and far between because she lives in Canada), hairless cats (though she hasn't yet met one in real life), and people who make her laugh. You can find her dancing, reading, drinking coffee or wine (dependent on the time of day), and watching Boy Meets World re-runs. @britburr

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