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Respectfully Yours: Keep New Year’s resolutions to yourself

Dear Jacquelyn,

Now that the holidays are wrapping up, I am looking ahead at the upcoming year. I would like to make a realistic New Year’s resolution. As it often happens, someone will ask, “What is your New Year’s resolution?” I do not want to share my resolutions because that often leads to stress and failure. How can I politely answer the question?

Dear Reader,

A personal goal is certainly worthy of privacy. The goal in and of itself creates some stress, so it’s reasonable to not want to share it with others.

In addition, the social pressure that comes along with sharing a resolution comes with the risk that if you fail it will cause embarrassment. For that reason, I’m all for keeping resolutions private.

There is no reason to drum up an excuse when asked about your resolution for the new year. As always, be mindful of your tone of voice. You don’t want to give the impression you’re being standoffish.

Speak in a friendly tone and remember the delivery of your message carries the weight of the words. Politely say, “I feel I’ll be more successful if I keep my resolutions private.” A simple reply should be enough to end the conversation.

Everyone’s approach in conquering a resolution is different. Some people are more successful and follow through by keeping resolutions close to the vest, while some may have a successful outcome with the support of others.

What matters most, if you do decide to share your goals for the year ahead, is that you are encouraged and not judged if you fail.

Making a resolution for the new year is a personal matter. There are plenty of people who do not feel the need to make specific changes solely because the calendar strikes January First.

It’s reasonable and entirely possible to improve your spiritual, physical or mental well-being any time of the year.

Respectfully Yours,


Have a question? Email: jacquelyn@ptd.net. Jacquelyn Youst is owner of the Pennsylvania Academy of Protocol, specializing in etiquette training. She is on the board of directors of the National Civility Foundation.

All Rights Reserved &Copy; 2020 Jacquelyn Youst