My New Year's Resolution Is To Give Up New Year's Resolutions

16/12/2013 17:04 | Updated 22 May 2015

Good friends for dinner or lunch in a fine restaurant, clinking glassesAlamy

The dawn of a new year always makes me nervous. It's not that I'm worried about New Year's Eve in particular, with all the pressure to make it an unforgettable night of unrivalled brilliance and meaning. No, what worries me about this time of year is the inescapable sense that I should make some New Year's Resolutions.

I HATE New Year's resolutions. I don't know of a single soul who has ever actually managed to keep one, unless you count the year my resolution was to 'Continue eating crap, do no exercise and steadily gain half a stone without even noticing by this time next year'. That was a cracking success as far as New Year's resolutions go.

But other than that I have never followed through on a resolution. I don't even see what purpose they serve, other than to make you feel woefully inadequate when you finally face the fact that you have failed to live up to your own resolutions.

Surely the only thing worse than ruefully acknowledging that you need to start a diet, cut down on booze or give up smoking is the realisation that your unhealthy habits aren't your only shortcoming and that you clearly also have the willpower of a worm. January is depressing enough without voluntarily making myself more miserable about my bad habits or setting myself up for inevitable disappointment caused by failed New Year's resolutions.

Henrietta Creasey is a mum of two. She's not a fan of New Year's resolutions either. "Why make a resolution at such a bleak, grey time of year?" she asks. "It's hardly inspiring to take up exercise when it's cold, dark and probably raining. I can't understand people starting diets at this time of year either. Surely the summer is a better time to tackle the battle of the bulge?"

Mum of three Lisa Durbin agrees. "New Year's resolutions aren't for me," she says. "You're going to pick the darkest, coldest, bleakest, most depressing time of the year to give up fun things? Yeah, good luck with that. I'll be over here having a glass of red seeing how many pies I can fit into my mouth before the first sign of spring."

I couldn't have said it better myself, so for all those reasons and more I am ditching the resolutions this year. Instead, I'm devoting my energy to a Mondo Beyondo list. It's infinitely more inspiring and fun. The idea was the brainchild of American jewellery designer and blogger Andrea Scher, who first introduced the idea of a Mondo Beyondo list on her blog, Superhero Journal in 2004. She wrote:

"Resolutions are a setup for failure! I believe it's because we are not inspired by deprivation... 'I will stop drinking coffee this year! I will stop yelling at my kids, stop smoking, lose weight, and work harder.' All those things sound like a big drag and imply that there is something WRONG with you. I propose a different way. Instead, create lists of intentions that get you truly inspired {remember that the word "inspire" is about giving breath, giving life} 'I am committed to exploring the most delicious varieties of organic black and green teas from around the world' or 'I intend to create a peaceful, nourishing home life for my kids.'

Or go one step further and write a Mondo Beyondo - the ultimate list of all the wild and crazy things you one day hope to do. The more preposterous, seemingly unlikely and outrageous the better, and - best of all - the things on your Mondo Beyondo list don't have to be confined to the next 12 months. This is a list to last a lifetime, which you get to add to every year. Hopefully you'll get to cross a few things off it too.

Andrea explains on her blog: "This is where the trip to Tibet goes, the gallery show for your paintings, meeting your favorite movie star, owning a home in Switzerland, or whatever makes you grin and feel jazzy just thinking about. If this list isn't really fun to make, you're not using your imagination. Think big!"

Eve Menezes Cunningham ( is a confidence coach, NLP Master Practitioner and complementary therapist. She loves New Year. "I don't do resolutions any more but I definitely mark it with lots of different rituals," she explains.

"One of the things I always do on New Year's Day is to make a vision board - it's a great visual reminder of your hopes and goals throughout the year. Just grab the side of a cardboard box and a pile of magazines and cut out all the pictures and words that appeal to you and stick them on your board. Use a different area of the board to represent different areas (like love, home, fun, money, health, spirit and so on - whatever's important to you, represent it visually). Once it's done (you'll know because you won't be able to help smiling when you think of it or see it - it'll inspire you to take steps towards each goal), stick it somewhere you'll see it often. When you walk past it, pause and just look at it. Let it continue to inspire you throughout the year. And as your goals change, update your board."

Eve recommends doing a vision board as a family - give your children a pile of magazines and let them go to town with their own dreams and goals for the coming year. It could be a fun family activity for New Year's Day.

What I love about Eve's suggestions and the idea of a Mondo Beyondo list is that they're life-giving instead of energy-sapping. Just catching sight of your vision board or Mondo Beyondo list ought to bring a smile to your face and a glow inside, instead of the guilty grimace induced by the average list of New Year's resolutions.

Now where's that wine I won't be giving up for January? I'm going to raise a glass to all this guilt-free inspiration.


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