Friday, January 10, 2014

Welcome guest author Rebecca Syme!

Rebecca Syme muses on Four Reasons Not to Make Resolutions in 2014 

When that big sparkly ball came down at midnight on December 31st, many of us were already looking ahead to 2014. Sitting down to evaluate the last year is such a common activity these days, you’d think it happened every year.

Oh wait. It does.

There’s an episode of the Canadian sitcom Corner Gas where a group of friends all made resolutions together and are racing each other to see who can “win” at resolutions and then who will give up first. You get the idea that they do this every year, from their conversations, but it evinced the absolute truth about New Year’s resolutions, and why it’s just not a good idea to make them.

4. New Year’s Resolutions are a fad. The definition of a fad is something that receives attention for a short period of time and then drops out of consideration. This means that there is an immense amount of pressure to make resolutions for a short period of time, but then no attention paid to them after about January 3rd. That means you get no support from the general public community. There aren’t going to be articles in your favorite magazines about your New Year’s resolutions in, say, April, when you’re more likely to need them.

Why is this dangerous? Because when you make a life change,  you need support. Fads, by nature, are fleeting, and don’t long themselves to long-term support.

3. New Year’s Resolutions are often vague. I resolve to lose weight. Great. How much? Over how long? Why? I resolve to be nicer. Great. What does “nicer” look like? Why might you be less nice? How nice is nice enough? I resolve to stop smoking. Great. You’re gonna quit cold turkey? Do you have support in this? What happens if you start smoking again?

Why is this dangerous? Because goals that lack specificity are hard to keep. Goals should be SMART. Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-Bound. Otherwise, you’re not going to be able to keep them.

2. New Year’s Resolutions are often extreme. People who have never gone to the gym start going every day in January. People who have smoked a pack a day their whole life stop smoking January 1st. People who have lived with grief for years suddenly start dating. People who have a sugar addiction stop eating candy completely. There’s this sense of white-knuckling with resolutions. Try to do something extreme until you can’t not do it.

Why is this dangerous? Because extreme behavior is very difficult to maintain. In fact, it’s sort of set up not to be maintained. Extreme sports, for instance, are short and intense. Like sprints. Changing your life is a marathon. Not an extreme sport.

1. New Year’s Resolutions will come back again next year. Like my friends on Corner Gas, most people know that they’re going to make another resolution next January. Their life is set up to disappoint them. They’ve made resolutions before and either kept them for awhile or not kept them at all. But come the following January, they have to make another one.

Why is this dangerous? Because the more comfortable you are in disappointing yourself, the more you’re going to give in when that donut just looks too good or you want to sleep in instead of going to the gym.

Statistically speaking, only 8% of us are going to achieve our resolution goals this year. Instead of the other 92% getting that much closer to chronic disappointment, why not just forego the resolution-making? Instead, this year, love your life. And in April or June, when you have some time, sit down and do a self-evaluation. Set some SMART goals, if you want. Above all, set yourself up to succeed. Find a community, set realistic goals, get support, and change your life. Don’t set resolutions. Be the person you want to be all year long, and forever.

What do you think? Do you like resolutions? Have you ever kept a resolution?

You can purchase R.L. Syme’s recent historical release, The Outcast Highlander today from major retailers. Find her online at or learn more about the book at

He's lost his family, his title, and his honor, but he can't lose her...

The first in a new Scottish Medieval Historical Romance series, the Highland Renegades, from award-winning author R.L. Syme.

Kensey MacLeod returns home after a failed marriage alliance in France to find her world in turmoil: her best friend married to an English sympathizer, her mother at death's door, and her father imprisoned and thought dead. As an English lord descends to claim her father's lands, Kensey escapes north with her mother and brother, and runs straight into the arms of the outcast Highlander.

Driven from home and family by a crazed father, Broccin Sinclair refuses to stand aside while the English invade his beloved Scotland. But who should he champion? The freedom fighter who saved his life, the family who has forgotten him, or the woman who captured his childhood heart?


  1. I like the SMART reasoning, Rebecca. When my kids were in school, I used to be a list-maker--just to be sure everything got done. I am guilty of setting too-broad goals that I fail to achieve, thereby setting up a pattern of excuses and self-criticism.
    I resolve now to change that. Thanks!

  2. Rebecca, I think I might love you! No, don't worry, I don't mean to be creepy. But you make so much sense and your reasons are spot on!

  3. Hi Rebecca, Welcome to Heroines with Hearts.

    I tend to use goals more than resolutions. And I have the SMART acronym pinned up next to my desk for guiding those goals when I set them!

  4. Great post, Rebecca. I've always thought that the post-Christmas/holiday season is the wrong time to make any resolutions, especially when we also have the long, dark, cold days of January and February ahead of us. Far better to leave any resolutions until the spring!