Why New Years Resolutions Fail -- And How to Succeed

How to keep your New Year's resolutions

2022 is almost here, which means it's time to develop some resolutions for the New Year. While over fifty percent of people report making New Year's resolutions every year, only around ten percent actually keep them. Whether it's a lack of motivation or lack of resources, here are some common reasons why resolutions fail—and what you can do to succeed.

1. Not having enough support

One of the most common reasons why New Year's resolutions fail is lack of support. Whatever your resolutions are for the New Year, don't go it alone. Surround yourself with people who will inspire and support you to reach your goals. Whoever you choose should be a positive force in your life, such as a friend, family member, coworker, or neighbor.

2. Setting unrealistic goals

Examine your resolutions. Are they what you really want? And, most importantly, are they realistic and attainable? Pick one or two goals that you feel confident you can achieve within the given timeframe. Be sure to reward yourself for partial successes, too! If your goal is to run a marathon in three weeks and you're new to running, chances are you won't be able to meet that goal.

3. Giving up too easily

Everyone encounters setbacks in life. But you shouldn't let minor setbacks derail all of your New Year's resolutions. To prevent yourself from giving up too quickly, set benchmarks to meet throughout the year. This will help to keep you on track and give you some momentum.

4. Not developing a plan of action

The best resolutions are those that include a plan of action. Break your resolutions down into smaller weekly goals to feel like you're working toward something more immediate. Then plan out tasks to do a few times a week that'll get you closer to achieving your goal.

5. Not being honest with yourself

Do you want to become better at yoga? Or learn how to cook healthier? Sometimes people create certain resolutions because they feel like they should or have to, even though they don't want to. What are you passionate about? What do you want to work on? Make resolutions that you actually want to achieve and are motivated to do so.

6. Not being specific enough

A lot of resolutions fail because they aren't specific enough. Resolving to "exercise more" is setting yourself up for failure since it lacks a way to measure your progress. But resolving to exercise three times a week at the gym on the elliptical machine for an hour each time is doable because it's specific and measurable.

Believe in yourself

It's clear why a lot of New Year's resolutions fail — they're not goals you actually want to achieve, are not measurable, or you lack the support necessary to achieve them. Once you develop some achievable goals and put together a plan of action and support, congratulate yourself each time you progress toward your goal, no matter how small it is. Instead, pat yourself on the back for making an effort toward your goal — always reward partial successes! And if you only meet your goal halfway, don't beat yourself up about it.

References
  1. "Top 10 Reasons You Don't Stick to Your New Year's Resolutions," Shape, n.d.
  2. "Why New Year's Resolutions Fail," Psychology Today, December 5, 2018.

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