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Refusing Resolutions

Heroes In Recovery
| December 16, 2011

Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts. | Winston Churchill

Christmas is almost here, which means the new year is right on its heels. While I personally am not a fan of skipping over one holiday to anticipate another (like when stores put out Christmas stuff before Halloween, etc.), I think I’ll make an exception this time. That’s only because we won’t get to update the blog much before New Year’s, and last week we had the privilege of writing about Christmas already.

So without further ado, the Heroes movement would kindly like to ask you not to make any new year’s resolutions.

Does that sound odd to you? Shouldn’t we be the ones encouraging you to try harder and do more?


We don’t like resolutions, and I’ll tell you why. Resolutions set you up to fail. They bet you against yourself. And they are based mainly on willpower. The Heroes community shakes its head at this. Relying on willpower alone, we know, is disastrous.

So we would encourage you to throw all your resolutions out the window. We have a much better idea for you. We highly encourage you to create some goals for yourself and a plan to reach those goals.

If you’re wondering if a resolution and a goal are the same, they’re quite different. A resolution focuses on “doing.” A goal focuses on “being.” A resolution is a high expectation without a way to meet that expectation. A goal is a finish line, a place to get to, with a path to get there and a pace to keep you going.

It’s a big difference.

Don’t “resolve” to do anything. It’s the mistaken idea that we can quit cold turkey, live a completely changed lifestyle instanteously, and suddenly become a different person overnight, that causes us to fail time and time again. And when we fail ourselves, we lose the motivation to be who we really want to be.

If you want to be sober in the new year, if you want to start something new and be something else, don’t “will” yourself to do it—find people to help you and create a step-by-step plan to achieve your goal. When you rediscover who you want to be, your motivation gets a serious boost; when you suddenly put yourself under the tyranny of an impossible resolution, your energy fades. Start small. Get support. Be smart.

Create a plan of action. And plan for setbacks. Write down what you will do if you make a mistake, or if you’re close to making one. That way, you’ll know what to do and it won’t derail your entire plan.

You can be who you want to be in the new year. Don’t make resolutions that will rule you; make goals that put you in charge of your life and your recovery. This is your journey, and the strength to change and maintain change can’t come from willpower alone—but it can be achieved through proactive behavior, a solid plan, and a network of support.

This new year is yours for the taking. Comment here or visit us on Facebook to tell us what you plan to do in 2012!

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