Why I don’t make resolutions

Did you set any New Year’s resolutions for 2018?

How about last year — did you make 2017 resolutions?

It’s always so trendy to talk resolutions at the beginning of the year, so please excuse me for jumping on the bandwagon, but I have something valuable for you to hear!

why not resolutions

Between you and me, can we just change this terminology into something that’s going to HELP you float, not sink?  As the saying goes, “Resolutions are meant to be broken”.  I don’t do New Years resolutions because they don’t “stick”.  The word itself is icky to me:

resolution – a firm decision to do or not to do something

But GOALS?  Goals are meant to be achieved!  Here, let’s define it:

goal – the object of a person’s ambition or effort

That’s clear!  Make goals that you can put your ambition and effort behind…for the entire year.  This is why I set ANNUAL GOALS.  I’m dreaming of and directing my life each year at the beginning of the year.

What qualifies me

(In case passion isn’t enough…)

Over the last decade, I’ve written down hard goals I’d like to achieve each year.  My accomplishment rate in the more recent years is as follows:

2014 – 71%
2015 – 72%
2016 – 80%
2017 – 86%

That’s pretty decent, right?  While I’d love to achieve 100% of my goals, I’m still happy about only achieving a high majority of them.

So how did I achieve 86% of my goals last year?  Let me tell you, because I want you to accomplish a lot this year, too.

First:  practice Self-accountability

One of the most common reasons that New Years resolutions fail is because of a lack of accountability, specifically self-accountability.

On January 1st, I rolled out of bed (late), looked in the mirror to see all the heavy smoky eye makeup still smudged across my face, and a strong craving for some pizza.

New Year, Same Me

I woke up with the same levels of discipline, self-control and patience I had exactly 8 hours before.  I didn’t wake up with the discipline of an Olympian.  I didn’t wake up with the self-control of a great CEO.  I didn’t wake up with the patience of Mother Teresa.  I looked in the mirror and saw:


That’s horrifying to some people.  We all want to look and feel and be like those great Insta fitness models and like the Silicon Valley geniuses and our church pastors with their deep spiritual understanding.  But blow away the smoke after the fireworks and we’re just…us.  You are you.  I am me.  And you know what?

That’s precisely how God designed it to be.  Life is a journey.  He could have gifted us with all the resolve and patience and kindness and butterflies and rainbows.  But how would we grow??  How would we empathize with others fighting to grow?  The opportunity to GROW and BECOME who you want to be — it’s truly a gift.  Seize it!

The way to seize it is by holding yourself accountable to the goals you set.  You have to muster up self-accountability before you set goals, or your “resolutions” will lack the resolute part of the equation.

As my favorite boss used to say:

i am responsible.  if i say i am not responsible, then i cannot change it.  if i say i am responsible, then i can change it.
-Glen Lewellyan


Here are a few of my annual goals from last year which I achieved:

  1.  Prioritize my health.  I accomplished this in two parts.  First, by taking fitness classes, hiring a personal trainer, and taking mid-day walks.  Second, by cooking more at home using Hello Fresh (a delivery service for meals which includes raw ingredients, recipes and nutritional information).  This put me in touch with the food I was eating and understanding the nutrients in our meals.  Did I eat perfectly and achieve my lowest body fat percentage?  No, but that wasn’t my goal.  My goal was to make progress toward sustainable, long-term health, and that I achieved.TIP:  Create goals that are truly important to you, not what society tells you should be important.
  2. Build our marriage.  To see my how-to’s for building our marriage, check out my recent blog post Reflections on our First Year.  It’s how we’re working to build a strong marriage and partnership:  through regular communication, listening to good advice, and allowing God to lead our marriage.TIP:  Set goals that build the life you want to lead in 5, 10, and even 50 years.
  3. Read all off the books I already own.  I have this “silly” habit of buying books on Amazon as soon as my interest is piqued.  That way, as it stares at me from the shelf, I will eventually pick it up to read, right?  But my list of books was growing like the population of China:  faster than I could read!  Well, I didn’t end my habit of buying books, but I did in fact read all the books I owned at the beginning of 2017…plus a couple!  Reading is always a great annual goal, because even if January gets busy and flies by, you can begin reading in February and get back on track for your annual goal.  Or if the first half of the year flies by, you can bring a book with you on your summer vacation.TIP:  Set goals that don’t put unrealistic pressure on you to begin January 1st.  Set goals you can put your energy toward throughout the year.

We are what we repeatedly do, therefore excellence is not an act, but a habit.
-Will Durant


As you set and accomplish goals, you might find yourself in a few different scenarios:

  1. You figure out that your goal is too unreasonable for this year.  Maybe you’re starting a new hobby and the learning curve is steeper than you imagined.  Keep working toward your goal, but once you’ve been working for a few months, but you realize the need to cut your goal into smaller pieces (like a pie, because who DOESN’T love pie?!).  In that case, EVALUATE your progress, and decide how to adapt your goals to best ensure success.  I’ve certainly had my fair share of cutting goals into smaller goals, but that just means you’ll do more victory dances along the way! 😉
  2. Another possibility is that you set a goal, work halfway to achieve it, only to realize your older, wiser self no longer wants that goal.I can empathize.  My first love was basketball.  I wanted to be a WNBA all-star and inspire kids, especially poor kids like me, that if they work hard enough, they could accomplish their dreams, too!  Lo and behold, I tried out for the varsity high school team, hitting the courts at 4’9″ and it was clear my future would not involve ballin.  It didn’t help that my mom is a 4’8″ Asian.  It didn’t help that I started school a year early so I was a year behind even my own height projections.  But oh man, I practiced ball so hard growing up.  It was my dream…THE DREAM…the thing I loved before I even loved the Lord.  Haha!  It was everything…until I was too short.  Then it was nothing.  I could have kept working to achieve my goal of WNBA stardom, but that would have been foolish.  I was good at ball, but I wasn’t even on the charts for height.  It was time to EVALUATE my direction.Luckily, I figured out I was a decent writer and could inspire people this way, too! 🙂
  3. Maybe you set out toward your goals and realized you’re dreaming too small.  That annual goal took you 6 months to achieve.  It’s time to dream bigger, to dream GOD-SIZED dreams!  Go ahead and do what you can for now, and then EVALUATE your momentum, i.e. the pace at which you work toward a goal.  If you feel like you’re cruising and you’re ready for a challenge, up your momentum.  Challenge yourself to double that original goal.

The important thing in evaluating your progress, direction and momentum is your ability to evaluate yourself realistically, honestly, and in balance.

While we all want to achieve amazing things all of the time, it’s going to be very hard to do that with any balance in life.  There are seasons for imbalance, to drive very hard into just one goal.  Just ask the Olympians on Team USA.  I doubt very highly that they are able to make every social event, every volunteer opp, their weekly church service* during Olympic month.  But it’s for a season.  If you have a goal that requires sacrifice, good!  Sounds like a real stretch opportunity for you!

(*I know I’m not supposed to insinuate that it’s okay to miss a church service, but…balance.  K?)

Today is when everything that’s going to happen from now on begins.
-Harvey Firestone, jr.

want more?

This last section is for the real go-getters.  Not the ones who set resolutions, but the ones who set goals, achieve goals, and keep truckin!  This is for YOU!  Just buckle up, because this could get intense…

I wanted to give you a preview into the larger implication of annual goals, and where they fit in my life goals.  To do this, I want to show you how I set up my every day tasks:

Daily tasks build into…
Weekly goals, which build into…
Monthly goals, which build into…
Annual goals, which build into…
Life goals, which builds into…
A legacy.

Intense, right?  Oh wait — you’re still reading.  Please continue!

I’ve been developing this system for years, and it’s mostly based on the Frankly Covey Planning System.

Let’s say it’s January 2 (theoretically, of course), and you want your 2018 to really count toward something.  You don’t want to live and do and be just for the sake of it.  You want your life to impact the world…or at least your immediate world.  You crave meaning and purpose and you want to help as many people as you can.

Start here:

  1. Practice self-accountability.
  2. Set good goals
  3. Achieve.  Then evaluate.

first up

Start with something easily doable.  If you want to grow spiritually but you have a hard time spending time in the Word, start with committing 1-3 days a week reading the Bible.  Then achieve that.  Then up the ante.  Pretty soon you’ll be a daily reader!

In February, with an accomplished goal under your belt, figure out another goal you can work toward.  First, evaluate your progress, direction and momentum on that goal you achieved.  How did it make you feel?  Was it helping you become who you want to be?  I hope in 364 days, you can yell a resounding YES!!! to that question.

Design the life you want to lead, and then do it.  Set some goals and achieve them.  Then evaluate your life direction, and set some more goals.

That’s the Priska (TM pending) method of living your dreams.  It’s NOT the default way of swimming through life.  It’s not the common way of doing life.  But a world-changing life has to be different and uncommon.

If you’re a Jesus-following believer, you were purposed to fight the norm, dream big, accomplish much, and change the world!  You were designed to light a bright path, a better way.

for readers

For all of my avid reader friends, here’s a book that I love to read in January as I think about my annual goals.  You can click on the book cover below to purchase it.  Enjoy!

The 15 Invaluable Laws of Growth: Live Them and Reach Your Potential*

Go chase your dreams, friend!

With love,

*Priska Jordan is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.

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