Why You’re Failing At Your New Year’s Resolution: Meet The Kindness Formula


I already failed at my New Year's Resolution, but in spite of that, I replaced a bad habit with a good habit. The bad habit—envisioning a different version of myself through unhealthy manifestation. The good habit—embracing kindness.

Many of us fail at our New Year's Resolutions, and while that is no secret, I do believe there is a formula to its success. I speak from personal experience; as seemingly every year, I get hyped to undergo the trend of a "new me." Then comes January 1, when I'm in a sugar-coma and drooling on myself. In fact, my sweet spot is right after Christmas, when I've eaten an offensive amount of holiday food (birthday included) and decide I need to change my life. But my life doesn't need to change, just my mindset. 

As I stuff a half-can of Pringles chips in my mouth, I jot down "be healthier" under my New Year's Eve Resolution amongst other things. The rest of these usually include go to the gym, wake up at the same time Steve Jobs did, drink more water, and write every single day. While all these are attainable, and in no way am I saying otherwise, how we approach these goals can be the make-or-break difference. 

First and foremost, this is what I've adapted to understand—you do not change overnight, and you can't embrace a million changes in one day. We're human, and our bodies are attracted to comfort and error. If I give myself a laundry list of one million things, from flossing better in the morning all the way to meditating every night, I will most likely get overwhelmed and fail. Then I will feel deterred and start eating Pringles again (sorry Pringles).

So instead, I decided to write everything down, making pages of goals and desires that are mostly attainable in my reach and divided them into three categories of kindness: mind, body, and spirit. 

To explain, "spirit" doesn't have to be a religious attribute, but it is more so our inner-drive or passion. The "mind" is our logical and analytical side and something I consider to be the working part of ourselves, career, and job. Lastly, the "body" is the physical—our health, exercise, and if you have any personal gain. 


The significance of breaking them down? Each section, believe it or not, uses a different part of our stamina, metaphorically, and different types of energy. Some categories may be more draining than others on some days or vice versa. It also gives you a perspective of how much you're focusing on one part of yourself compared to the others. When undergoing this last year, I noticed I was putting too much focus on my appearance and beauty; I was obsessed. It was a reality check. Not because beauty is bad, but because I was writing it in an angry notation. I was making myself believe that something was wrong with me and that I wasn't good enough. But here is the thing—when we grow, it's not because we were not good enough before, it’s because we're learning lessons and building on our blocks from before. 

Another trick? Write them on index cards then pick two or three for the week and put them someplace you'll see them—on your phone, desk, nightstand—wherever. Try your best to adapt and make the changes, or work towards them. Don't add another card until you feel ready; this is a marathon, not a sprint. When we make lists or write these massive schedules, guess what, things happen. Your meeting gets extended, and your significant other gets sick. These cards can work with you, not against you. 

By having all three categories, you can make sure each time you create a new line or card, it's with full intention and a healthy mindset. It also forces you to think about others, such as giving more community service or teaching a group at your local school. You'll start to visualize new goals, and you can even share them with your friends. When you vocalize your goals and put them out in the universe, you'll find you may be provided the resources you need by other people or events. 


Regardless of what you aspire to do this year, and if you use this method or not, the takeaway is to remember that every year is designed for growth, not for replacement. Don't aim to be the universal opposite of who you are because you're trying to follow societal trends or norms. Instead, aim to do things that resonate deeply with you, and in pair, help someone who may have similar aspirations. 


Written, Subject, and Photographed by Sarah McKinnon. 2019.

Edited by Brittni Roberts