Why you Should NOT Make an English New Year’s Resolution

It’s that time of the year, folks. 2015 is winding down (*coming to an end*), and we are all eagerly (*excitedly*) waiting for 2016 to arrive. What will happen this next year? What will we do? What will we accomplish? These questions aren’t the big one though. The burning question, and probably the most common small talk conversation starter around this time, “What is your New Year’s Resolution?”

In case you’re not sure of what a New Year’s resolution is, let me fill you in (*give you the details*). A resolution, according to Merriam-Webster Learner’s Dictionary, is a count noun meaning a promise to yourself that you will make a serious effort to do something that you should do. Does this ring a bell (*sound familiar*)? If you’re still not following along, maybe some examples will help you:

This year, in 2016, I am going to…

go to the gym more, eat less sugar, learn a new language, lose weight, go to Yoga, take time for myself, find a foreign language conversation partner, read more, watch less TV, call my family more, take more vacations, learn 10 new vocabulary words a day, improve my grammar, etc.. etc..

Sounding more familiar? I bet by now you are saying,

YES! I have said some of those things, or heard my aunt “____” say some of those things.”

We can’t avoid thinking about these resolutions and promises, because the information and push (*motivation*) to do make them is everywhere. Throughout today alone, this article popped up in my Facebook feed (why do the Kardashians seem to be (almost literally) everywhere?!), then I saw this one, and this one (<- I will admit this TIME article was interesting 😉 ), and even numerous e-mails from others telling me what they’re changing for 2016. I thought, well, enough is enough!

Don’t get me wrong. It’s not a bad thing that we want to improve ourselves, or make “better” choices; however, I think that setting a New Year’s resolution just is not the smartest and most effective way to do it.

Why are New Year’s Resolutions ineffective?

  1. Because they have a “start date,” January 1st, they often come with this idea of some grand change and effort needed from us. We can easily find excuses to change this start date, we can push it back, or justify why we “don’t need” it right away.
  2. Most things with a start date have an end date. According to this StatisticBrain article, only 75% of those who make a resolution maintain it (*keep it*) through the first week. This number drops to less than 50% after the first 6 months. These numbers don’t look too good..
  3. A lot of our resolutions are things that take time to happen, or need a lot of work to achieve. Sometimes, if we don’t see instant results, we can quickly lose motivation. If your resolution has something to do with improving English (you’re in the right place), then you know language learning takes effort, time, and hard work. (Remember that statistic from above about how long resolutions last…)

So, what SHOULD you do to improve yourself in 2016?

Oh don’t worry! I am way too positive and cheerful to write an article about only the negative side of resolutions. Great news! You CAN improve yourself in 2016, you can improve your language skills, speak English more confidently, enhance vocabulary, or achieve whatever your goals may be, you just need to make it a 2016 lifestyle habit. No start dates, no end dates, no unrealistic expectations or waiting periods.

1. Don’t give yourself a “start date.” Don’t give yourself a time that you can postpone (*do later*), or change. Right now, make a decision of something you want to achieve, and right now, do a little something to get it started. Don’t wait until tomorrow (January 1st) and definitely don’t feel bad if you’re reading this on January 4th and you haven’t started doing anything, because it doesn’t matter! You’re making a lifestyle change, so today is the perfect day to make it happen!

      Here are some ideas to get you started if you have any of these lifestyle goals. All of these tips you can pause and do right now:

1. Improve your English skills: Download my e-book, “20 ways to Increase you English Fluency”

    -Another way: find a new English blog, and read the first article you see! I really like Really Learn English,  English with a Twist, and British Council Learn English, so you can start with them!

2. Increase your vocabulary: Visit Merriam-Webster Learner’s Dictionary and review their word of the day and take the vocabulary quiz

3. Speak English more confidently: Learn the rules and tricks of speaking more like a native! Learn how to reduce and link sounds, avoid common errors, and so much more in Breakthrough Pronunciation. Join my colleague Elena and me in our exclusive Facebook group. We’re giving tips and resources daily, and starting the online (3 day) workshop in February. Click here to join!

4. Be healthier: drop down and do 10 push ups 🙂

2. The great thing about not having a start date, is that you have no end date. You are making the decision to improve a little bit every day, and continue doing this because you know it’s going to make you happier, and make you feel better. You don’t need to do something extreme or drastic, you’re just taking little steps. You don’t need to be a statistic, because your new lifestyle habit is not something that “lasts”, it’s something that will naturally continue…

3. If you create a habit for yourself, then you won’t need motivation to help you continue it. Your habit will become the way you naturally are, and will guide your new, positive actions. Your new habit will lead you to 1 goal, then you will keep on moving in your new lifestyle to reach another goal. You won’t set unrealistic expectations, because this is your life now! You just need to live it, every day with no “end game” in sight!


I have already started picking up new habits, and 2016 hasn’t even started! This is what I mean by “no start dates.” I just shared what some of my new habits are with my e-mail list, and they include an exciting new blog schedule! I would love to share those with you, so sign up to receive my newsletters and get even more resources, information, and updates in your inbox! You can join by clicking here.

Well, I am signing off (*saying goodbye*) for now, and that is it for 2015. This has been such an incredible year for me and English Outside the Box. On top of moving to a new state, I am so happy to have dedicated this whole year to building up this blog, offering more online classes, creating new e-courses, and I have YOU to thank for that. Thank you for following me on this journey, for sharing English Outside the Box with others, and thanks for learning outside the box with me. Cheers to the new year, I know 2016 will be even better!

Happy Studying and Happy New Year 

Don’t forget to share some of your lifestyle habits with me! What will you be doing moving forward? What habits are you creating? Share them in the comments below, and please invite someone to join the 2016 habit change and share this article with them!

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  1. […] are silly, and why you shouldn’t make these resolutions. If you missed that article, you can read it here. Instead, you should focus on more long-term lifestyle choices that don’t have a start or an […]

  2. April Mims on January 6, 2016 at 3:31 am

    I use the first of the year to set goals that are based on what I am currently doing. I always like to have a new challenge.

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