There’s always next year: The real reason resolutions fizzle

Everybody loves a new year. It’s a bright, shiny, fresh, clean slate. A vista unblemished by mistakes or regrets. A brand-new chance to make “those changes” and accomplish “those things” we’ve been meaning to do forever.

Yet, undermining all this glorious potential is the hidden truth we’re aware of even as we proclaim that this time we’ll really lose 20 pounds, or get out of debt, or finally launch that long-dreamed-of business.

New Year’s resolutions are nothing more than fairy tales, we grown-ups tell ourselves. That’s right. If you’re like 92% of Americans, you’re not going to keep those resolutions. What’s more, you know it. What you may not know, according to Brian Moran, is why.


“The number one enemy of most New Year’s resolutions isn’t feasibility, a lack of know-how, or even a lack of motivation, though those things can come into play,” says Moran, co-author along with Michael Lennington of The New York Times best seller ‘”The 12 Week Year: Get More Done in 12 Weeks Than Others Do in 12 Months.”

“The number one enemy of most resolutions is time,” Moran said.

Putting things off

Think about it: It’s all too easy to procrastinate through January, February, March, and even longer. No problem, you think. I have over half a year left to do what I said I’d do. Even when July and August roll around, there are still enough months left in the year that you don’t feel a real sense of urgency.

Next thing you know, the holidays are almost upon you. You’re still over your ideal weight, drinking too many sodas a day, working the same job, with less savings than you’d like. Too late to do anything now, you figure. I’ll try again next year.

“For many people, this depressing chain of events recycles on a yearly basis because far-away deadlines allow — even encourage —us to be slack on execution,” Moran said. “Give yourself too much time and you will procrastinate. It’s just human nature.”

Redefine the concept of a year

Ultimately, says Moran, effective execution happens daily and weekly and on a consistent basis. To perform at your best, you will need to get out of “annual mode” and stop thinking in terms of a 365-day year.

That’s where the 12 Week Year comes in. Moran said it’s a system that works for businesses striving to meet their goals — and it will work for you, too.

“When you redefine the concept of a year, your life will change,” Moran said. “A year is no longer 12 months; it is now only 12 weeks, followed by the next 12 Week Year, ad infinitum. Each 12-week period stands on its own.

“You no longer have the luxury of putting off critical activities, thinking there is ‘plenty of time’ left to meet your goals,” he continued. “When you have only 12 weeks, each week matters, each day matters, each moment matters. And the result is profound.”

About the author

Brian P. Moran is founder and CEO of The Execution Co., which works to improve performance for leaders and entrepreneurs. The Michigan resident has served in management and executive positions with UPS, PepsiCo, and Northern Automotive, and consults with dozens of companies each year.

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