The 12 Stages Of (Not) Accomplishing Your New Year’s Resolution


1. Mull Phase

It’s been something you’ve been thinking about doing; something you’re capable of, something that would likely improve your life by leaps, bounds, and other ambiguous distance metrics. Something that would enable you to talk at parties with an unforseen confidence; “Yes, I’m doing the Paleo diet. Yes, I am exponentially better than you.

The mull phase strictly occurs in your mind. It’s the fantasy stage, the stage that someone at a TED Talk would likely refer to as the ideation stage. 

The key here is to only view the positives of your potential resolution. This way, you’ll be able to slowly delude yourself into thinking your resolution is something you’re actually capable of doing.

2. The Emotionally-Fueled Rash Decision

Usually occurs around the holidays, when those really depressing Silent Night drunk driving PSAs make you ponder your existence more than usual. This decision then, is usually grounded in some sort of “life is a thing that ends, and I need to do everything that I want to do” epiphany.

Of course all your thoughts are epiphanies if you’re under the age of 25, but this is besides the point. Existential despair or not, you’re doing this. Let’s get ’em.

3. The Initial Adrenaline Boost

Fueled by phase 2 and/or a surprisingly inspiring Netflix documentary, here’s where you get to work. Accompanying playlists, google spreadsheets, a $23 moleskin notebook.

You’ve successfully acquired the ammo and are taking actionable steps towards accomplishing whatever it is you’ve set out to accomplish. Ergo you’re sorta actually doing it. Insert emotionally applicable GIF here.

4. The Press Release

AKA, making a Facebook status about what you’re doing.

The press release will often yield a surprisingly large amounts of likes and general support, as social media etiquette is very much like a lavish rooftop party with “key players.” In both of these places, it’s much better to talk about doing stuff than it is to actually be doing stuff.

5. You Deserve It/Treat Yo’Self

People complain of this trophy generation, a line of thought that believes 26 year-olds are ill-equipped to endure hardship because they once got a plastic medal for being the 7th place softball team.

I’d argue that this isn’t as much as problem as the “Treat Yo’self” rhetoric that seems to be infiltrating our age group; this idea that since it’s Tuesday, we totally deserve frozen yogurt. An idea that in theory, is probably a good one. But an idea that, like most things, has been discovered by human beings and has thus been effectively ruined.


How does this apply to your New Years resolution? Well, it’s January 29th, and you’re now 1/12th or the way there. You totally deserve a few days off.

6. The Dive Back In

A few days on the mend has ceded to a week. But it’s early February, and you’re not that pathetic. Time to get back on the grind. It’s 2014, so we’ll exclude the now passé hashtag.

7. Overwhelmed Omar

Overwhelmed Omar is the character become when you fully realize the scope of the commitment you thought you made. Those few days off were kinda nice. Is diving back in really even worth it? New Girl is on.

8. Underwhelming Rationalization

You would get to it. You totally would. But there are bigger, more important things going on*. Things that, had you known about when setting the resolution, you would’ve totally taken into account. Totally.

*The Heat are playing the Clippers. Big game.

9. The Slow Fade

This is a great term coined by the host of this podcast, used to characterize the demise of a casual hookup. The slow fade refers to the gradual decline of texting, generally orchestrated by the less interested party, intended to organically signal the end of your brief fling.

Similarly, it’s become rather popular for people to slow-fade their New Years Resolutions. A process that begins with uninspired promises, that ultimately ends with the New Year’s Resolution getting the message. Unfortunate, but no hard feelings.

10. The Unexpected Call Out

You’re at a Labor Day barbecue, and someone who you’ve always been competitive with in a “fuck you, just kidding, but actually fuck you” sort of way makes an offhand comment about your failed food blog. And because you are a human with emotions that wholly identifies with Kristin Wiig’s character in Bridemaids, it kind of gets to you.


Blood, boiled.

11. Back On Track

Turns out your arch-nemesis was exactly the fuel you needed. It may be too late to completely make due on your resolution, but…

12. Ammo Up

Next year is right around the corner. Let’s do this. Thought Catalog Logo Mark

image – Shutterstock

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