anti new years resolution

In honor of the New Year we are bringing back one of our popular new year posts….

I had a troubling conversation with a good friend of mine the other day. She told me she felt like a complete failure last year. She had set some pretty lofty New Year’s Resolutions & had failed. Repeatedly. The majority of them were financial in nature.

She follows our website. She coupons. She’s as frugal as they come, but she was beating herself up because they had a few majorย  unexpected expenses that had left a balance on their credit card. She had made it a goal to end the year with no credit card debt, and was striving to pay off their vehicle which ultimately did not happen. So she felt she had let her family down. She, like so many women I know (please male readers, bare with me for a moment while I address our female readers specifically), was so hard on herself. She failed to see all of the progress she had made, instead opting to see where she fell just a little bit short.


We preach endlessly about saving money. Every Friday I post another set of frugal ideas. There are always new thrifty ideas to adopt and new ways to save money. There will ALWAYS be more we could be doing. We could beat ourselves up over all of the ways we could be better. PLEASE don’t!

After that chat with my friend, I shared a post with her I put up on my personal blog. With it being the season of resolutions, I thought it might be beneficial to share it with you:

The point of a New Year’s Resolution is to motivate us to better ourselves. So why do they always make me feel inadequate and pathetic. Perhaps if I would actually stick to them and follow through, the resulting feelings would be quite different. But this year I just don’t feel like setting myself up for failure. So I am taking a preemptive strike. I am making an odd resolution for the new year: to NOT make a New Year’s Resolution.

My resolution for this year is to just be. Be content just being me. Who I am. Right now. I am all about trying to better yourself and not becoming complacent or lazy, but 2011 will be a year of acceptance. I think in our haste to improve our lives, we forget to cherish who we are and what we have at this exact moment. We are always trying to move forward, be better, progress. Nothing wrong with that. But I get caught up in that and I forget, and this is as cliche as it comes, to live in the moment.

So no trying to be thinner, no longing to be wiser, no attempts to become richer. No desire to keep a cleaner house, to be a better cook, to learn a new skill. I don’t want to better at anything. I want to look at myself in the mirror, my life as it is right this very second and I just want to be.

And this may very well be the hardest resolution of my life.


  • Linda T

    Thanks Amber, Well said. We are most of the time so hard on ourselves. We think we must be practically perfect in every way like Mary Poppins. I too will strive to live in the moment and find more joy in my life.

  • Kelli

    Great non resolution! I just want to add that the problem with most people setting their resolutions is that they are not specific enough. To be thinner, wiser, or richer are great things to want to be, but how? When I make resolutions I make them with the HOW (how will I make myself thinner?) and that is the only way that I can accomplish them. Otherwise they are just a bunch of wishes.

  • Michelle

    Amen sista’! Although I still LOVE making resolutions! It is my favorite time of year.

  • Rana

    Thank you! I thought I was the only one who felt like this. I hate that every night when I lay my head on my pillow I am upset with myself that I didn’t get enough done. I am going to try very hard to not be so darn hard on myself!

  • Dawn

    I gave up on perfection a loooooong time ago. When I finally let go of that a huge weight lifted off my shoulders. NO ONE can be perfect – it’s impossible. I tried something new this year too. Instead of making a resolution I decided to count my blessings: wonderful husband, healthy kids, warm house. When I changed my paradigm and started looking at what I am doing right, instead of looking at what I’m not accomplishing…..I am a whole lot happier with who I am, what my life is like and what size pants I’m wearing LOL!!!!! Hang in there sisters…..this life can be tough —-we don’t need to be tough on ourselves too!

  • Renee

    All I can say is thntk-you.

  • Renee

    yep and that’s just who I am… the girl who can’t hit the right button. ๐Ÿ™‚ Thank – you

  • Chip

    Bravo Amber! I do not make resolutions…as a guy, I’m a list maker…so what I try to do is to set specific goals and then achieve them. For example…I have 300 blueberry bushes that have needed an annual prunning for the last 15 years. I look at this project (and the always rainy Western WA winter weather) and I can’t ever seem to get this done. In 2010, my goal was to prune…no set amount…just prune…even one would be a step forward. I finished 270 of those buggers. When I finally reached my breaking point, I started obsessing about what a failure I am. Then it occured to me that I had done most of them…and the other 30 could wait…and now I know that I can certainly do those 30…afterall, I did 9X that last year! I think most of it is a state of mind. Above all…love ourselves for our strengths…and our faults. After all, that’s what I do with others.

  • Kristy

    Thank you for this post, it was the perfect ending to my horrible week. My question is to all of you above..HOW?? How do you let go of wanting the house cleaned all the time, the laundry done, the kids on best behavior, speinding enough time with your kids and maintaining the house….and on and on…HOW? How do you let that guilt and burden on your shoulders be free? I’ve been struggling with this and I can’t seem to get past the HOW? It may last a few days..but not for long I feel like I’m failing at being the perfect happy Mom and wife.

    • Sarah H

      I had a great counselor who did an exercise with me where after a relaxation exercise I went to my ‘happy place’ (just somewhere that I love to be) and I spent some time there…the funny thing is I don’t remember the exact directions he gave me, I just remember imaginging myself there, enjoying the moment, feeling the sun and the wind and seeing the gorgeous mountains and afterwards he asked me what i’d felt like, and what I had been doing (nothing). And why was I okay doing nothing? (I’m a real achiever). I was just me. I had no expectations of myself and I felt calm and powerful.

      He had me do the exercise nightly for a week. Of course, i’d usually get all relaxed and fall asleep before the imagination part…but if you can find a moment to mentally just be with yourself, I think it’s easier…because one of the greatest tools he gave me was allowing me to really buy into the idea that our worth comes from who we are, not what we do. And that what we do isn’t who we are. What?! Took awhile to believe that…obviously we have goals and aspirations, but every human being has worth simply because they exist (things I should have been tuned into as a Christian, but then again, there’s the whole striving for perfection thing that gets a bit heavy sometimes…).

      Anyway, hope that helps, sister.

  • Cinderill

    Thank you! I follow another coupon blog and her super long list of resolutions depressed me. She has so many goals and she will probably achieve them all while homeschooling and running her blog and probably get pregnant with twin along the way. No sweat for her.

    I want to get a shower every day and wear make up too.
    I want to nurse my baby and care for my 5 kids and hubby.
    I would like to coupon some.
    I would like to have a house that is reasonably clean.

    All the things I am currently doing and when I look at my short list it is a lot. I am good as I am. This is a year to maintain the good I already do.

    We women are too hard on ourselves.

    • Cathy

      I think I know who you’re referring to, and I couldn’t even look at her list. I have no idea how someone can run a blog all by themselves and do all those things you mention! I really like what Dawn said above… I’m going to look and see what I’m grateful for! It gives me warm fuzzies at night rather than reviewing all thing things I DIDN’T get to. Heavens knows that list is a mile long!

      ps – to Kristy, I don’t know how old your kids are, but mine range from 1-15. I can’t tell you how much better things go for me when I outsource to them! The 2 oldest do their own laundry, the 4 oldest rotate dishes (loading and unloading), wiping counters, washing pans, sweeping, and keeping kitchen, living room, and family room tidy. I also have 2 of them assigned to the 1 and 2 year old each day. AND I’ve learned to let a lot go… I’m a tried and true perfectionist. But I’ve finally come to the realization that I have way too much on my plate, and that each day, there will be balls that I drop as I try to juggle everything. I’ve finally been able to accept it! There are days that I’m so wrapped up in work, that I’m not a great mom. But then the next day I do better. And that’s just how it is! Right now I have to work full time as I am the #1 income source. Luckily for me, it’s something I can do from home and I absolutely love it! I’m grateful that I have it and that I can still work alongside my littles.

      Thank you Amber for writing this. Sometimes I get really tired of setting myself up for failure. This year I’m just going to have gratitude! Hugs to all of you!

      • Kristy

        Thank you ladies! Sorry for the late response, life gets busy as we all know. I am trying to let things go and sometimes I just have no “say so” in letting them go, they just do. My little ones are 2, 3 and 7. The 7 year old helps with the dinner dishes and the 3 year old has started wiping down the table and helping putting away the silverware from dishwasher. They do have their own chores which helps but it seems like it’s a battle sometimes just getting it done, but the good part is the 7 year old “sometimes” realizes that putting her clean clothes in her dirty laundry basket isn’t always the best idea..ha..ha. I am too a perfectionist and I think that’s the hardest part to let go and just relax. Even though, I don’t know any of you and live in your area, I feel a comfort just to write to you. Thank you for all you do in so many ways.

        Oh and potty training the 2 year old started this week…talk about being exhausted! LOL!

  • carol

    Great advice. I love it. We always tend to be harder on ourselves than anyone else. Why not just be!;-)

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