I Don’t Believe in New Year’s Resolutions

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Mountain Mom and Baby L on a snow hike  I Don’t Believe in New Year’s Resolutions

I don’t believe in New Years Resolutions. Research by Psychology professor JC Norcross shows that only 77 percent of people kept their New Year’s Resolutions for one week. One week! Only 19 percent were still at it two years later. That’s a failure rate of 81 percent.


So why do so many people make New Years Resolutions if they’re statistically likely to fail? Well, another study by Norcross finds that “Resolvers reported higher rates of success [at weight loss, smoking cessation and exercise programs] than nonresolvers; at six months, 46% of the resolvers were continuously successful compared to 4% of the nonresolvers.”

There is power in attempting to change one’s behavior. Change never happens if you don’t try, but just declaring that the next year will be better in a specific area of life doesn’t work.I Don't Believe in New Years Resolutions

Why doesn’t it work?

A few years ago I read the book The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business by Charles Duhigg. In it he discusses the research behind habits and how change really comes to be. Often we focus on getting results instead of changing our habits.

I believe in making goals. I write down specific, measureable actions and give myself a deadline for accomplishing them. But I focus on small things I can do over a short period of time and I allow myself flexibility. I try to create a new habit instead of only looking for results.

Often if we skip a workout, stay up another hour or have another cigarette when we’re trying to quit, we feel like all hope is lost. That’s it. I’m a total failure.

I’ve found that instead of feeling guilty about each slip up, it might just be time to change the goal or habit.

Mountain Mom Quilting

Hobby of the Month Club

Years ago I started a Hobby of the Month Club with myself as the only member. It began because I would get excited about a project, devote my time, energy and love to it and then after a few weeks it became stale and boring.

This started with quilting. I used to make quilts for my nieces and nephews. When I was seized with inspiration I pulled out fabric, oogled designs, cut and pieced and sewed up a storm. But when it came to adding the batting and finishing the edges, quilting lost all interest for me.

It bored me. I was ready to move on to the next exciting interest – snowboarding, guitar, gourmet cooking. Sometimes I would guilt myself into finishing the quilt project before moving on, but that robbed me of the creative joy I had once felt with quilting. What I found more powerful was to allow myself a break.Mountain Mom Snowshoe

Give Yourself Permission to Change Direction

Now I give myself permission to ride the wave of enthusiasm I feel for every new hobby or interest. In general they all revolve around the outdoors in some way, but not always.

I chose the title Hobby of the Month Club because it seemed my interest in something lasted about a month. This “club” helped me focus on one area of self improvement until it got boring and then move on to the next.

This is how I found the love of my life. No, not Mountain Dad – I met him through his brother. SNOWBOARDING! One winter I felt frustrated that our attempts at getting pregnant were unsuccessful. In defiance toward the universe I thought, “Fine! If I can’t have a baby I’ll do something else I’ve always wanted to do! I’ll learn to snowboard!”

Snowboarding became my hobby that January. I loved it so much it became my hobby in February too. And again in March.

That’s okay. My personal Hobby of the Month Club gave me permission to enjoy what was fun in that moment. When it lost its joy (or the snow melted) I was ready to move on to the next hobby.

2017 Outdoor Hobby of the Month Club

Now I’d like to invite you to think about what habits you want to form in 2017. Are you hoping to get outdoors more? Lose weight? Feel happier? Instead of making resolutions on January 1, start your own Hobby of the Month Club.

Need ideas? Starting in January 2017, I’ll be giving out monthly outdoor challenges with prizes. I’m thinking of it as my Outdoor Hobby of the Month Club and I want you to join me. I know I said I was the only member of my Hobby of the Month Club, but in this case I think the more, the merrier.


Each challenge will:

  1. Require you to get outside.
  2. Be something you can bring kids on if you want.
  3. Be a little challenging. It is a challenge after all.

If you successfully complete your challenge you’ll be entered in an exclusive giveaway of great outdoor gear valued at over $50. Here’s the best part. I’ll cap entries so that your chance of winning will always be 1 in 50 or better. 

Give It a Try

If you want to be the first to hear about the January Outdoor Challenge Sign Up for the Mountain Mom and Tots Newsletter here. I’ll never sell your email address or excessively bother you, I just want to stay connected to my favorite outdoor pals.

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Even if you don’t sign up for my newsletter I want to hear about your New Year’s resolutions, goals, habits or hobbies. Leave a comment or connect with me on facebook, twitter or instagram. Let’s get outdoors in 2017!


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Author: Mountain Mom

Hi! I'm Mountain Mom. I live with my husband and three young kids in the mountains near Sundance, Utah. When we're not hiking, biking, skiing and camping, I spend my time doing Mom stuff and reading. Summer of 2016 we traveled over 7,000 miles along the US National Park to Park Highway.

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