Resolution. The dictionary defines it as a determining, a deciding, a solving of a puzzle, or the answering of a question. To me, in making resolutions, we buy into the idea that there is a problem, puzzle, or question to be solved in our lives. In making new year’s resolutions we aren’t simply going to try and do something better, we are making a formal statement to change or transform something about our lives. To resolve something. Wow. Talk about pressure!

So this year, I am refusing instead of resolving. Refusing to make any grand statements, promises, or resolutions. Instead, I will recognize all of the stuff that is right in my life. And if along the way I choose to try something new, set a goal, eat better, exercise more, blah blah blah, well…that’s okay too. But I have a lot to be proud of, and I suspect you do too. Here are some of the reasons I don’t need resolutions this year.

The Top Five Reasons to Refuse Resolutions in 2015:


Isn’t it enough to think about what we would like to do in the future, without putting an expiration date on our goals? “In 2015 I will…,” makes it seem like if it doesn’t happen this year, it never will. How about being proud of the fact that you are a person with aspirations, whether it is as simple as a home improvement project, or as grand as a career change. The fact that you dream about something means you will move forward…eventually. It might take longer than a year, but hey, nothing worth doing is easy! Keep on dreaming, hoping, and setting goals without all the time constraints that come with a new year’s resolution.


It is easy to be hard on ourselves. We are our own toughest critics. But chances are there are people in your life who love you just the way you are, which means you are at least not a horrible person. No matter your job, your income, your body size, your hair length, your clothing choices, or your education – you have parents, children, friends, siblings, and family who love and adore you for you. And if you have kids, you have people who cannot imagine their lives without you, and depend on you for their very existence. Your daughters look to you as a role model of what it is to be a woman. Your sons see you as the woman to measure all other women against. Talk about being a V.I.P.!


This is fairly self-explanatory. With all the infuriating things you deal with every day, be glad you haven’t screwed up so royally that you are incarcerated. We all make mistakes, but yours are no worse than anyone else’s if you are still allowed to roam free among the masses. You make good choices and have self-control. Nice.


 OK, you may not be doing your dream job, have as much money as you would like, or be at your ideal weight, but there is something in your life that brings you joy. Your kids when they smile at you and say, “I love you Mommy.” When your husband does the grocery shopping, or cooks dinner, or puts the kids to bed so you can sit on your ass watching another backlogged episode of The Mindy Project on Hulu. Cocktails with your girlfriends. A glass of wine before bed. A good workout. A good book.  A new pair of shoes. A hobby (even if you only get to it once in a while). The view out your back window. A plan for a vacation. The smell of the rain. Even in the worst of times, there is something in your life that brings you joy. Embrace it!


 This is big. Parenting is hard. It is continuously hard, and from what people who have kids older than mine tell me, it really doesn’t ever get easy. If it isn’t physically challenging (e.g., lugging a screaming toddler through Target, lifting a roly poly baby up off the floor a hundred times a day, chasing your very active sons around the park), it is emotionally draining (e.g., your kid’s first experience with a nightmare, a bully, self-doubt, a break up).   Ask yourself this: despite all of the demands of parenting, are your kids pretty cool? Chances are the answer is yes. Look, all kids can be a pain in the ass sometimes. They have attitude. They throw tantrums. They talk back, leave their stuff all over the house, call their siblings names, and just generally get on your nerves. But if they aren’t juvenile delinquents, then you have pretty much exceeded any goal you could ever set for yourself. Nothing is more profound than producing and raising good kids. They don’t have to be perfect, but if they are not total ass holes, you have done the seemingly impossible task of being a good parent.

So there you have it. Five reasons we should all stop resolving to do something different, or be someone different, and pat ourselves on the back for being us. How about making 2015 the year we keep doing all the great stuff we are doing!  And if all else fails, a cocktail and a good book couldn’t hurt.


About the Author:

Jess Kapp is a geologist, educator, and writer. She teaches geology at the University of Arizona, where she is a senior lecturer and the associate department head in the department of geosciences. She is writing a memoir about how death and geology changed her life, and set her on a path of discovery in the remote interior of Tibet.


  1. Tom January 3, 2015 at 1:54 pm - Reply

    I totally disagree. We should always strive to make our lives better or leave the world a little better or …… you fill in the blank.

  2. S.Reddell January 3, 2015 at 9:20 pm - Reply

    I absolutely agree that there is always at least one thing in our lives that we could improve on.

  3. Jess Kapp January 3, 2015 at 9:45 pm - Reply

    Well, sure, we should strive to be better. But why all this pressure on the first of every year? We should be our best selves every day, I agree. I am simply suggesting we cut ourselves some slack too. With all of the emphasis on “what I will do this year,” I just think we could also reflect on, “what I did well this past year.” The fact that we work, parent, create, think, participate, dream, means we are striving to be better. But there is so much hype about the big New Year’s Resolutions and how we are going to do something spectacular, be someone spectacular, etc. What about this…you already ARE spectacular! And, as I say in the article, if you choose to try something new, do something better, that is great! But it shouldn’t be so stressful. We set ourselves up for failure with these grand proclamations. I WILL lose ten pounds this year. I WILL get a better job this year. I WILL be a more patient parent this year. I think those goals are completely wonderful, but can’t they be just that… goals? Why must they be resolutions? I agree with both of you, there is always something we can do better. I just refuse to buy into the whole resolution hype, and will try to work on my things bit by bit, day by day, for as long as it takes, not until next year and a NEW new year’s resolution. Thanks for your comments! And happy 2015, whatever that means for you!

  4. Ethel Lee-Miller January 4, 2015 at 9:12 pm - Reply

    I agree, Jess. Resolve seems like work, nose to the grindstone, no rest for the worker bee. I love the idea of intentions and aspirations. There is a certain flow in the words that keep a large component of happiness and joy in each day.

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