By Contributing Editor Michael Leibowitz

I smoked cigarettes. It’s hard to admit that on a Health and Wellness blog. It sucked. I was in my 20s. And every year around this time, I'd build up a big story about how I was going to quit for New Year's. New Year, New Me (cue the slow clapping). But let's face the uncomfortable, wheezing music here: New Year's resolutions are about as effective as a screen door on a submarine. 

Studies, and fortunately my lungs, are clear. New Year's resolutions are doomed to fail. According to a study by the University of Scranton, 8% of people achieve their New Year's resolutions. That's not just a failure; that's an epidemic of wishful thinking. 

But here's what worked for me: Realizing that January 1st isn't a magic gate to a new me.  It's just another page on the calendar. What really counts is waking up every day and treating it like it’s day 1, resolving not to give in. And if smoking was a daily bad habit, I needed to replace it with a daily good habit. Enter yoga. Not the 'once-a-year-until-February' kind of yoga, but the kind that has you rolling out your mat even when your bed whispers sweet nothings of comfort.  

The journey from a bad habit to a good one is not about a dramatic overnight transformation but, for me, it became about the resilience and determination to make a better choice every day, every hour, and eventually every breadth. It's about making consistent, small choices that accumulate into significant life changes. The real study of self-improvement isn't found in a journal; it's inked in the sweat on your Yoga mat and the cigarettes you don't smoke. It takes time. It takes embracing countless failures. It takes getting knocked down and getting up again and again until you cultivate the resolve to treat every day like it’s the first of January.   

So as the fireworks light up the sky, heralding the birth of 2024, engrave this in your mind: Resolutions are fleeting, but resolve is eternal. It's the daily choice to be better, not for a fleeting chorus of likes on social but for the silent, affirming nod from the toughest critic you'll ever face—yourself. 

Forget resolutions. Embrace resolve—the gritty, moment-to-moment fight for the best version of yourself. That's real life. And that, my friends, is worth more than any New Year's celebration.