Why New Year's Resolutions Fail

Someone recently said something to me that made me think. He said that all New Year's resolutions fail because they come at the wrong time.

You know what I mean by New Year's resolutions, right? It's those promises you make to yourself, and maybe to others, right around the end of December that you will change or improve yourself in some way in the new year.

The sentiment may not be wrong, but the timing certainly is. The argument made was that January 1st isn't really the start of the new year - September is. You see, here in North America, whether you are in school or not, most businesses revolve around a "school year" structure of September to June, with July and August being the summer holiday months.

So, if September is the start of the year, we can't make promises to change something in January. That's like starting a 2-week sprint (in Agile Development) and saying half-way through that you are going to have completely new objectives. It doesn't work that way. You already committed to delivering certain goals during the Sprint Planning session at the start.

What's that? What if you didn't set any goals at the beginning of the Sprint/Year in September? Doesn't matter. The Sprint/year started anyway and you are in the middle of it. There's no way you are easily going to shift your life in a totally new direction half way through.

So, the moral of the story is: if you want to make New Year's resolutions, make them in August, not in December. That way you are more likely to follow through with them as the year progresses.

Hm, interesting.

Of course, life changing events can happen any time. You don't need to make a resolution of any kind to change yourself and how you get along in the world. You just need to see yourself how you want to be, and live like you've already reached that goal.

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