What To Do With New Year’s Resolutions

Why do so many of us make New Year’s resolutions? Do they help? Are they a pain? Do they put pressure on us? Do they stress us out? Do they work? Do they give us something to look forward to?

What to do with New Year’s Resolutions

The only resolution I made on New Year’s Day (which worked for me), was the one I made on January 1st 1994. It was the day I told myself to stop adding sugar to tea and coffee. I’m still ‘sugar-total’ when it comes to drinking tea and coffee. Success!

If you’ve made some New Year’s resolutions, then good luck with them. If, like me, you haven’t, grab the nearest calendar and count how many days there are on it.

Why am I asking you to count the days on a calendar? There’s a good reason.

Did you count 365 days? Yes? 366, if you’re looking at a 2020 calendar. Ditch that old calendar, and get yourself one for this year. Look at all those days on it.

Every one of those days is a day of new beginnings. Every day is a day to start something different. Every day is a day opportunities will come knocking. Every day is a day to set yourself a resolution (if you want to). Every day is a day you can make good use of. Every day is a day you can make somebody smile. Every day is a day you can do something good for somebody else. Don’t waste them.

What am I getting at?

Simply put, you can start a resolution on any day of the year. I’ve had more successes with resolutions I started on days other than New Year’s Day. But that makes a lot of sense when it’s 364 days against one day. And isn’t every new day the beginning of a new year in your life? Check out Erika’s post. I think she agrees with me.

Thank you.

There is something I enjoy doing every new year. I look back and thank those who shaped my life over the previous 12 months. And those include the people I never met, but who in some way influenced my life.

As a blogger, I’m talking about those who visited my blog, read and joined in with the discussions on the posts I wrote and photos I shared.

If you’re not a blogger, then the people you will have been in touch with on social media may have influenced your life in some way. Think about it. You don’t have to hear words from somebody for them to influence your life. And you don’t need to physically meet someone for them to have an influence on your life.

If it weren’t for all of you out there, the last 12 months would have been a little quiet and emptier here on my blog. And I don’t believe that’s something any blogger wants for their blog.

So, a big thank you for all your support, kindness, friendship, and for being a big part of my 2020. You listened to me; you made me cry. You astounded me; you made me think. You made me change my life or persuaded me to try out something new. You entertained me; you helped me through the low points and you encouraged me over the high points. You influenced me.

What was 2020 like for you? Think hard before you answer that question.

2020 may have seemed a horrible and strange year for many of us, but it will have given us opportunities and some nice bits too.

For me, one of the most significant opportunities was an invitation to become a guest columnist at the Carrot Ranch, a blog hosted by Charli Mills. I may already know some of the Carrot Ranch writers, but an invitation to write for another blog is an opportunity I am incredibly thankful to have come my way in 2020.

Another significant opportunity 2020 gave me was to sort out and donate stuff to my local charity shops. ‘Lockdown’ allowed me to declutter my home and pass on items I no longer needed. Those expired items not only went on to generate money for good causes but were brought back to life by their new owners. I like to think that the happiness those items once gave me has now passed on to the new owners.

2020 may be gone, but it shouldn’t be forgotten. Why? Elouise tells us why. Read her post here and read the comments on the post too.

Thank you 2020.

Thank you 2020 for the opportunities you presented to me. You may think you did a good job at hiding them from me, but they were there when I looked hard enough.

Now, I’m looking forward to the opportunities 2021 will bring.

Abba – Happy New Year

What to do with New Year’s Resolutions

My answer – Turn them into opportunities. Opportunities to make new friends, new acquaintances, new experiences. Make people laugh, make people happy, teach people something new, tell somebody something that will make them smile. Don’t turn your resolutions into opportunities that become barriers or hurdles for you or anyone else or that make people unhappy. Make people laugh, make people smile.

Some cause happiness wherever they go; others whenever they go.

To live is the rarest thing in the world. Most people just exist.

We are all in the gutter. But some of us are looking at the stars.

Oscar Wilde

Which ones are you going to be in 2021?

New Year 2021

Do you make New Year’s resolutions? Have you had any success or failures with them? What opportunities did 2020 give you? What answer would you give to the title of this blog post? Leave me a comment and join the discussion.

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Author: Hugh W. Roberts

My name is Hugh. I live in the city of Swansea, South Wales, in the United Kingdom. My blog covers a wide range of subjects, the most popular of which are my blogging tips posts. If you have any questions about blogging or anything else, please contact me by clicking on the 'Contact Hugh' button on the menu bar. Click on the 'Meet Hugh' button on the menu bar of my blog to learn more about me and my blog.

84 thoughts

  1. Well, this took a minute to scroll to where I could comment, Hugh, which tells me how much your post resonates with people, but also how popular your blog is. You are a true friend to many and I pester Hans for us to come for a visit some day. Your gratitude and zest for life shines through in your posts and comments. I haven’t bothered with resolutions in years, other than resolve to not make any. 🤪 Some folks have a word of the year, and mine would be faith. Other than that, since I’ve been with Hans, my life is never a dull moment. Looking forward to a fab 2021 and beyond. And I look forward to your creativity and future posts, and I feel like you have something new up your sleeve 😁

    1. Aww, now you’re making me blush, Terri. But I don’t mind that at all. A few days ago, this post was nowhere in sight. Like many others, I was caught up in the negativity that many claimed 2020 to be all about. But then I looked at 2020 differently and found that it had also done a lot of good, not just for me, but for most of us. I simply had to write it all down and begin my quest to inform people that 2020 wasn’t all about negativity. It was different; very different, but it could also have been much worse.
      And I love what you say about resolutions and your life. That tells me that you also have a zest for life regardless of what is going on. I firmly believe that opportunities come out of everything that happens to us. I hope 2021 brings you and Hans many opportunities, Terri.

  2. For me, the beginning of January is the very worst time to make resolutions – it’s midwinter, the weather is foul and I have less energy than at any other time of year. My only resolution – ever – is to try to live in the moment.

  3. I really enjoyed this Hugh, your positivity, your gratitude and your humanity shines through your words. You are a fabulous blogger sharing thoughts, ideas and advice so generously and I’m so glad I’m connected to you. Have a great year ahead!

    1. I’m so pleased you enjoyed reading this post, Debbie. So many (including the press, news and TV) only look at the negatives of 2020. Yes, it was different, but it was also a year that gave us lots of opportunities we probably don’t think about much. I’m so thankful for the opportunities, and good 2020 gave me that I’m not writing it off as a bad year. For me, it was different, not bad.
      Thank you for your kind words.
      Happy New Year, and keep me posted on what it’s like living the future. 😁

  4. Well said, Hugh! I don’t have much to add to these wise words. Every day is an opportunity and a new start. I couldn’t agree more and that’s how I wake up each morning. Life – and the world – is full of opportunities.

    2020 might not have been the greatest year, but, like every year, I was a little sad to let it go as I never wish time to go fast. I find time precious and want it to slow down, so we can truly savor those days, new adventures, and new opportunities. As you know, a milestone for me in 2020 was to publish my first book. 🙂

    No, I don’t make New Year’s resolutions. I might think of a goal or improvement or two towards happiness. But that’s it. Have a fantastic 2021, my friend!

    1. Your first book did cross my mind when I was writing this post, especially the part where I said we should not write off 2020 just because it was a different year, Liesbet. 2020 allowed you to publish a book, and you took it. I expect it also gave Mark and you other opportunities that you may not have thought about. When I changed my mindset about 2020, I was amazed by the good I saw it gave us all. Just look at how it helped us cut Co2 emissions and bring us into contact with people we had not talked to for such a long time. I hope those two pieces of ‘good’ 2020 gave us continues this year. As with any year, it may be gone, but we should not forget it.

      Well done of the achievements you made in 2020. Happy New Year to Mark, Maya and you.

  5. Happy New Year, Hugh. I do like New Year’s resolutions, just because the idea of starting something on 1/1 has some appeal to me. But I agree, you can start a resolution whenever you want…

    1. I don’t see any problems with making New Year’s resolutions on New Year’s Day, Jim. I even had success with the one I mentioned in this post. But we shouldn’t pressure ourselves in having too many when they can be spread out over the other 364 days of the year. After all, each new day is a new beginning.
      Happy New Year.

    1. I hope the ‘hope’ you have this new year brings you enough rain. Not too much, because it can lead to flooding and cause all sorts of problems, but enough to ensure there are no wildfires in your part of the world this year.
      Happy New Year.

  6. What an uplifting post, Hugh! 2020 was one crazy year but it was also full of opportunities. I know that I’m one of the lucky ones (no job to lose, no elderly parents to worry about, a spouse, home and a yard), but I don’t think anyone got through the year untouched. You are right, there are 365 days ahead (well, closer to 364 now) and we need to make the most of each one. Happy New Year and thank you for being such a kind, generous blogger!

    1. Thank you, Janis. I’m glad this post has come over as uplifting. I know 2020 was different, but it had lots of good points about it, especially those that showed how much humanity helped each other. I also see it as a year that hopefully, humans will continue looking after our planet and continue repairing the ozone layer. And if we all look hard enough, I’m sure there will have been opportunities for many of us. We shouldn’t write it off just because it was so different to other years we’ve lived.
      Happy New Year to you.

  7. Wonderful, thought-provoking reminders, Hugh. I form many resolutions in my mind throughout the year, with varying success. I avoid making those at New Years, which seems artificial, somehow. I make resolutions more on an “as needed” basis:)

    1. It’s great to hear that many who have left comments also spread resolutions throughout the year, Becky. I believe doing so turns the pressure of resolutions into opportunities.
      Happy New Year.

  8. Happy New Year, dear Hugh! I hope 2021 is a year filled with blessings and delightful, wonderful moments! I completely agree with you about resolutions. It’s almost too much pressure to start on January 1st when we might be more successful another time on the calendar. I think when we truly do our best on any given day, that to me is a success. With tons of love from across the pond, Cher xoxoxo

    1. Wise words, Cher. I agree that it can be a lot of pressure to start resolutions on January 1st, so why not spread them out over the other 364 days? I think many of us would have far more success with them if we did that. Plus, it would take some of the pressure off us, meaning we’re less likely to fail. And if we fail any, then try turning that failure into an opportunity instead of feeling bad about it.

      Happy New Year to you, Cher. I hope your year is full of love, friendship and good health.

      1. Why thank you so much, dear Hugh! And yes, I completely agree! It definitely takes some pressure off, doesn’t it? And as you said, turning something that didn’t work out into an opportunity is the best thing to do.

        Happy New Year to you too, dear Hugh! I hope the same for you and your lovely family! Cher xoxo

  9. It is so funny when I think of how I look at the change of the year today and how I did it decades ago. I never liked the change of the year. Everything seemed to start anew. I was familiar with how everything went, and I had no problems to just continue day by day. I guess as a child or teenager, I was in that mode that I did not care what date we had, whether it was January 1st or April 24th… Then I too began looking back and reviewed the old year and looked out for the new year with curiosity and anticipation. Today, I think, I am having a mix of it all. I still don’t care what date we have when it comes to new beginnings (maybe it is also my impatience and me not wanting to postpone something) but I like looking back and seeing where I am and what took me there. Awesome! That’s why I like you saying that we should rather pause before we are judging the old year. Amazing great things happened in everybody’s life as there did in the globally. It was a year that provoked us to step back from convenience and habits and reorganize our lives anew.
    My thanks go to our wonderful community that never ceases to inspire and to teach. Therefore, thank you for your inspiration, tips, stories, and profound discussions.
    Great post, Hugh, and thank you for the shout-out 😊

    1. Thanks for your comment, Erika. It makes interesting reading. Why? Because up until a few days ago, I had nothing but negativity about 2020. And what was not helping was all the negativity about it on TV, in the papers, and here. I asked myself to look at 2020 differently, and it was not long before I saw some of the good that it also bought us. The negativity was soon swept away, and I found myself embracing 2020 as a year that taught me lots about humanity and myself. It’s amazing how something can look so different when you look at it from a different angle. But what I now need to do is ask myself why I wasn’t doing it more often. Better still, since I begin drafting this post, I started reading other blog posts that were not only looking at the negatives of 2020. It was as if the tide had turned.

      I loved your post, which I linked to in this post. It proved to me that what I had done was right. Ignore the negatives and take more notice of the positives we can all find when we look hard enough.

      1. We can be swept aways so easily in all the negativity that built up around us. I am glad you found that turning point that made you stop and ponder. That’s why I love this quote so much: When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.” Realizing the good things after being caught in negative energies weighs so much more!
        Again, thank you for linking to my post. I appreciate it very much that you thought it was a positive input. Much love to you, Hugh!

  10. Thanks for this thought provoking post, Hugh. I gave up making resolutions (New Year ones that is) years ago. I never stuck to them so it’s just a case of as and when now.

  11. Happy New Year, Hugh! I agree that we shouldn’t wait until January 1 to make changes in our lives. But, I do take the opportunity at the beginning of each year to set some goals for the year.

    Watching the New Years Eve programming on TV last night, my daughters and I were struck by all the negativity. No, 2020 didn’t go as any of us planned. But, it was a an opportunity to learn, reflect and slow down. None of those are bad things in my mind!

    1. Hear, hear, Michelle. You’re so right in what you say about the opportunities 2020 presented all of us with. Another good thing that happened was that Co2 emissions were cut. I only hope it continues to be cut. And it was also a year that put me back in touch with people I had not spoken with for a long time. It was a wonderful opportunity to catch up with them, which I’m very thankful for.

    1. That’s one of the downsides of setting them, especially at New Year when they’re more likely to fail, Clive. However, look at them as goals (and set them at any time of the year other than at New Year), and I think it gives them a different perspective.

      Happy New Year to you, Clive.

  12. I gave up long ago making New Year resolutions as most of the time they were half-hearted ones at best…Giving up sugar and smoking(some) 35)yrs ago were done not at New Year but am guessing when I was in the right mindset and really wanted to achieve that goal. I tend to set things now monthly some I achieve others I carry over and some just drop off but if I achieve just one I am satisfied and if not I don’t beat myself up …Life has a habit of just taking over sometimes…Happy New year, Hugh …

    1. Yep, it sure does, Carol. And we should never tell ourselves that we have failed because life has got in the way. You’re right about being in the right mindset, but sometimes all we need is a little nudge to get that mindset in the right setting. Up until a few days ago, I thought 2020 was a terrible year. Then I changed the way I was looking at it, and when I really looked hard and removed all the negatives, I also saw the opportunities and good it offered us. It made me feel much better about it.

      Happy New year to you and the family.

      1. Thank you, Hugh.. January being annual visa renewal is the worst for me no amount of nudging works.. sigh.. the remainder of the year a nudge would.. January I would love to just hibernate and come out when its done..Stay safe and well, Hugh 🙏

        1. I have the same feeling about hibernating during the summer when it’s too hot and humid, Carol. It’s when I become my grumpiest. However, this year, I will look for some positives about the summer too. 😀

  13. Happy New Year Hugh, I am not going to mention ball the bad that has happened. I am not making any resolutions, I am just going try and live the best I can every day. Happy New Year Hugh to you and yours 😘

    1. There’s nothing wrong in talking about the bad things that happen because talking and/or writing about them often helps not only us, but it helps other people, Willow. However, even during bad times, we should never forget about the good times and good things that happen because they help carry us over the bumpy roads life often puts us on. And where would those we love and those we share our lives with be without us there with them when they are travelling along their bumpy road? As Darlene mentioned in her comment, life is what you make of it, and it always contains love and friendship if we allow ourselves to find it.

      Happy New Year to you and your family, Willow.

  14. Thanks for sharing Hugh. About seven years I welcomed 2013 with the feeling of major dissatisfaction with my life.

    Never being one to care for resolutions, I decided this year to change my approach and write a list of everything I wanted to change, improve and try.

    As the year went on many of these fell to the side as I started prioritising what matters to me and turned this list into set goals.

    During those years I’ve established writing and fitness routines, clear my debt, meet the woman who would become my wife, have children, buy a house, and have numerous promotions in my career.

    2020 although tough for its obvious reasons will always be special for me due to achieve a few large, long term goals.

    1. That’s fantastic to hear, James. Well done on looking at your approach about resolutions and turning them into something you went on to succeed. Each and every one of us all has the power to do the same thing.

      And it’s great to hear that 2020 also had great outcomes for you despite what was happening. I’ll remember 2020 as the year much of mankind came together to help each other. And, like you, it’s also given me successes too.

  15. Hi Hugh, Happy New Year!! I’m absolutely with you. I’ve never been one for New Years Resolutions. I believe that anytime there is something I need to change, help, improve on, etc. regardless of the date on the calendar then it needs to be done then. I have nothing against New Years resolutions and think whatever works for a person is what they should do.

    One of the things I changed a long time ago happened in March of that year. I went to the doctors, was overweight and had high BP. He said to go on BP meds. I said “NO”. He said then you will start exercising everyday for an hour. Huh? I really didn’t want to.

    The next day I got up early, took my dog and walked for 5 minutes. I was so out of shape that I had to walk for only 5 minutes and add 5 minutes every few days. This became something my dog and I enjoyed so much!! We looked forward to it every day. We worked up to 1 1/2 hours a day. My BP was good in three weeks!! I lost a ton of weight and by Christmas time people I hadn’t seen for a while were shocked at the difference. I felt better.

    Walking is one of my favorite things to do now. It is a great stress reliever and healthy in so many ways.

    1. What a wonderful story, Lea. Congratulations on what you achieved. Like you, I also enjoy walking. I used to go to the gym, but hated every moment of it and asked myself what on earth I was doing to myself. Instead, I changed my diet and began walking a lot more, which made me feel much better about my health and life. I did the same with 2020. I thought it a horrible year which just made me feel negative about it and life. But as soon as I saw the opportunities and positive moments it also gave, I felt much better about it and life. We should not forget all the good points and opportunities that last year brought with it.

      Happy New Year to you. Enjoy all the walks this year. By getting out, we experience and see much more of what life has to offer us.

  16. My dad used to say, Life is what you make it! I set goals for the year as I am very goal-oriented. This year I didn’t meet all of them, especially those that included travel. But I will make new ones, as not to would be like giving up. Turning resolutions/goals into opportunities is a great way to look at it. And nothing wrong with adding or deleting goals during the year. Have a very Happy New Year, Hugh. Stay safe.

    1. Your dad is right. If life is bad, then it’s probably because that’s how we see it. But behind every dark cloud is light. At the end of every tunnel is light. And during the journey, we have the power to make decisions to help make the darkness a little lighter and life better.

      And nobody should feel bad about not achieving all their goals. We should not set the bar so high that it makes us feel a failure when we don’t achieve everything.

      Happy New Year, Darlene.

  17. Hi. Happy New Year! After a Covid year of feeling I have little control over my life and where all the best made plans have gone awry, I was feeling that I have neither the inclination nor the drive to care about making any resolutions. But then I thought that was a negative attitude that I didn’t need in 2021. Looking for inspiration, I came across this great inspirational quote from Author Ellen Goodman…..
    “We spend January 1st walking through our lives, room by room, drawing up a list of work to be done, cracks to be patched. Maybe this year to balance the list we ought to walk through the rooms of our lives…. not looking for flaws, but potential.” Maybe this will be my mantra for 2021.

    1. That’s a great quote, Paul. Thank you for sharing it with us. I think it kinda says what I’m trying to say in this post. New beginnings don’t need to start at the beginning. They can begin at any time. And we will know when that time is. Just because it’s January the 1st doesn’t mean we shouldn’t start on any other day of the year.

      2020 may have been negative because of what was happening, but it also bought us opportunities and chances to change – just like any year. It’s good to hear you’re no longer allowing it to have any negative effects on this new year.

      Happy New Year to you.

  18. My first priority for 2021 is to still be around to get to read your New Year 2022 post I think Hugh!
    Not setting many targets otherwise, hopefully just keeping your points here in mind and likewise doing what we can to be on the positive side of life. Happy New Year to you, and thanks for your support too.

    1. Oh, you’re welcome. I enjoy reading the posts of yours that I occasionally catch. You have a great outlook on life regardless of what you’re writing about and always manage to make me smile. A lot can be said about staying positive in life. I suppose I’m lucky in that my positive times far outweigh the negative ones.

  19. In 2020 I made several resolutions. I kept nearly all of them thanks to careful monitoring. It gives me encouragement to make more in 2021.

    1. That’s good to hear, but we shouldn’t forget that we can make resolutions any time of the year, not just at New Year. Giving ourselves encouragement during the whole year is a great way to live.

  20. I’m with you, Hugh, on the every day is a new beginning train of thought..i prefer tongue myself a word each year, to concentrate on, and build upon.
    2020 sure was a roller coaster, but there is was much positive (not test results!) that came through, too.
    More time to strip back and evaluate life, the people within it, and what you really need to love, and be happy.
    Here’s to a year where we embrace what we learned, and continue to be healthy, happy and hopeful 🥰

    1. It sure was, wasn’t it, Ritu? But I think many years I’ve lived have been a rollercoaster – perhaps with not so many deep dips, though.

      We shouldn’t writeoff 2020 or forget about it, just like we should not forget any other year. I learned a lot about myself, other people, and life as a whole during 2020. And as bad as many people say 2020 was, it gave me many new opportunities that would not have come my way if it were not for what it gave us. I’m thankful that I and most of those I care about made it through the door to 2021.

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