Don’t make a resolution

Gray Hughes

Last year, you might have read a column that I wrote entitled something like “A very millennial resolution.” In that very column, I wrote about my New Year’s resolution for 2019: stay off my phone more.

Well, I write this column in 2020 informing you that, as someone recently told me, I have completely and utterly failed at that.

I’m ashamed that I still embody the millennial stereotype that we can’t stay off our phones. I’m not here to make excuses. No, I’m here to tell you that New Year’s resolutions are flawed in design.

According to an article published on Jan. 1, 2019, 60 percent of us make a New Year’s resolution but only eight percent of us stick with it. Eight percent. Let that sink in.

Let me break it down to you like this: according to Wikipedia (the go-to source for all information that needs to be taken with a grain of salt), Hill City had an estimated population of 995 in 2015. Sixty percent of 995 is 597 people, so it’s safe to assume 597 people in Hill City made a New Year’s resolution. Is it more? Less? Who knows!

Anyways, of that 597, using the information provided by, 47.76 people stuck with their New Year’s resolution.


So is it that people are lazy? Well, I would venture to say “lazy” is not a term that fits the people of Hill City.

Is it that we lose focus? Maybe, maybe not. It hard to say.

No, in my experience, whenever I set a New Year’s resolution I failed because old habits die hard.

Which, once again, isn’t an excuse. Let’s say I made a habit of texting and driving (I don’t). Let’s say one of those times I was firing off a text to someone I struck and killed someone. I don’t think any judge anywhere would buy the excuse: “Sorry, I just can’t stop!”

Humans are creatures of habit. I try to do the same thing pretty much every day. If I don’t, it can throw a wrench in my day.

James Clear, who publishes a blog on, said it takes two months to create a new habit. I have no clue where he got his information because I skimmed the article for the relevant information (a practice that I normally detest), but if it’s on the internet it must be true!

Gretchen Rubin, who wrote the book “The Happiness Project,” wrote in an article published in Psychology Today that kind of went along with  Clear’s observations, saying it takes 66 days to create a new habit.

So, 66 days to create a new habit. That means come St. Patrick’s Day, if you made a New Year’s resolution to, say, lose weight, then you should be making unconscious decisions every day to lose weight. Well, if you’re anything like me whenever I tried to lose weight with my New Year’s resolution that ain’t gonna happen — unless you can and do. If so, you’re a better person than I.

It’s hard to find the motivation to stick with a resolution. Most of the resolutions we set only impact us, and, as humans we can be selfish, lazy and seek comfort from the easiest path possible, we don’t really care.

Look, I’m not making excuses for people not finishing their resolutions. If you’re New Year’s resolution is to be a better person and, come St. Patrick’s Day, you find yourself the same old angry, bitter person, well then there’s no excuse for that.

I am saying that we normally pick wrong things and for the wrong reasons.

So, this year, if you need to make a resolution, pick something you can actually, realistically do that benefits other people. Make a resolution to communicate more with your parents more often if they live far away. Or maybe you can make a resolution to volunteer more. Maybe you can make the resolution to do one act of kindness a day.

Me, though? I won’t listen to a word that I wrote. I’ll still make big plans to lose 15 pounds, run more, spend less time on my phone and learn how to cook.

Because, like I said, old habits die hard.

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