30th December 2016

The Ultimate Guide to Failing at Your New Year’s Resolution

It’s that time of year again – the time when you decide this is the year you’ll get in shape, save more money, be less stressed, get organised, spend more time with your family, and learn how to play the French horn.

The good news is that two-thirds of people fail in the first month. Here’s how to make sure you don’t get left behind, and spectacularly fail at your New Year’s Resolution:

1. Make sure your goal isn’t quantifiable.



A good example of this is “be less stressed” or “be happier”. Can you split this vague and monumental undertaking into smaller chunks? What steps will get you there? How will you know when you’ve achieved it? One month in, what do you want to have accomplished?

If your answer to any of the above is “I don’t know”, then well done – you are already nailing failing!

2. Postpone until at least the second week of January.


Everybody knows that if you don’t begin your Resolution on the 1st of January – okay, the 2nd – then there’s really no point in trying at all. The Magic Resolution Window has slammed shut. It’s already the 8th of January and you haven’t started? Great! There’s almost definitely no point in attempting your Resolution this year. You only have 357 days left anyway, which is nowhere near enough time to quit smoking.

3. Keep your Resolution to yourself.


Don’t. Tell. Anybody. The less your peers know, the easier it will be to bail yourself out. Don’t even think about entering into some sort of “Ulysees Pact” where you give £10 to charity every time you deliberately cheat on your Resolution. Avoid online communities in particular in case they provide encouragement. In your face, aspirations!

4. Don’t treat yourself.


You’ve commuted to work by bicycle every single day this week and saved £25 in petrol money. Whatever you do, don’t congratulate yourself, or treat yourself to anything in any way. Also don’t tell anyone (see Point #3). The only way to truly fail is to be 100% unforgiving toward yourself. Don’t expect to have minor set-backs or any “off” days. If you do experience a set-back, remind yourself what a huge deal it is and how it’s probably happened because you suck at life in general. This is just like that time you didn’t get that job you wanted. Make a point of imagining how miserable you’ll be in two months time if you keep any of this up. Nice work!

5. Don’t keep a record of anything.



This relates to Point #1. The surest-fire way to fail is to keep your progress as nebulous as possible so that you can’t look back and see how far you’ve come. Nothing kills failure like being able to reflect on how much you’ve accomplished. DO NOT buy a wall calendar where you can tick off the days you’ve succeeded. In fact, DO NOT make your plans concrete by writing down anything at all.

6. Technology is your enemy.


Avoid pieces of technology which help you measure progress, or allow you to access an online community, or God forbid, let you “have fun” (whatever that is.) For saving money, avoid the You Need A Budget app. For cycling, avoid Strava, Cyclemeter, and Bike Doctor, and also any form of cycling computer. Don’t watch this Ted Talk about forming new habits by trying something out for 30 days. Don’t read up on the Pomodoro Technique. If you can’t do it like they did in the 1950s, through sheer brute willpower alone, then don’t bother. Technology is for sissies!

So there you have it. If you follow these 6 easy self-sabotaging steps, we’ll get you quitting your New Year’s Resolution faster than you can say “I’m a failure and everything I do turns to sewage.” You’re welcome!

Read: How much money could you save commuting by bike?

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