By Noah Kaufman
Updated December 23, 2019
Credit: © Peter Titmuss / Alamy

New Year’s is stereotypically a time for reflection and self-improvement, but every year this leads people to vow to do a variety of things before failing within a couple of weeks. The bane of regular gym-goers who have to avoid the January crowds, one of the most popular resolutions of all time is to lose weight. Here's why you should rethink making yourself that empty promise.

1. It almost certainly won’t stick. Research shows that only 8 percent of people actually achieve their resolutions. Your chances of shedding that weight are about the same as your chances of getting into MIT. And yes, I know that 8 percent number is true across all New Year’s resolutions, but it’s particularly problematic for weight loss for a few reasons.

2. The gym will be a nightmare. SoulCycle, Pure Barre, kickboxing, pilates, yoga—no matter what your preference when it comes to usually effective group fitness classes, they will be a swarm of elbows, kicks that just miss knocking your teeth out and humidified sweat that leads to super slippery, treacherous floors. Even if you try to self-start in the cardio or weight room, the standing around waiting to use the equipment will feel like a huge waste of time. Time that could be better spent eating that leftover pie in your fridge.

3. You might actually hurt yourself trying. We want instant gratification from our resolutions. It’s why more than three-quarters of people keep them for all of one week. And because of that need for fast results, you probably won’t get on a smart new workout and health regimen that will transform your life—you’ll jump on one of the huge number of fad diets. And there is just no way that consuming nothing but maple syrup and cayenne pepper for an extended period of time is good for your insides.

4. You will irritate most of your friends. Your staunch refusal to eat anything that tastes good for the entire month of January will turn going out to eat into a research project for everyone. Just try to find a good Sunday brunch that doesn’t involve lots of buttered toast, cheesy eggs and irresistible breakfast meats. Also, splitting the check just turned into a huge pain now that you’re only eating side salads.

5. The rules are always changing. Coconuts are good for everything, but wait, they're not "healthy." Avocado is full of fat, but it's "good" fat. Soy is better than dairy, oh wait, you should avoid it. Strict dieting is like 50 Shades of Grey with all the pain and none of the orgasms. Or is it? Fresh, whole, local, sustainable foods are probably good choices, and so is the occasional Dennis Prescott monstrosity. It's about balance, and that won't be achieved in one week of effort.

6. Eggs whites won't cure a hangover. We don't have scientific evidence on this one, but speaking of DP, you're going to want a whole lot of these after New Year's Eve, and life's too short to fight it.

7. It shouldn’t take a national holiday to make you think about this. Especially when a major part of that holiday involves consuming massive quantities of fermented sugars. It’s conflicting messages like this that brought about the Cookie Diet (which you may have tried last year).