Why New Years Resolutions Fail -- And How to SucceedIt's another year yet again. You know what that means -- time to develop some resolutions for the New Year. While over fifty percent of people report that they make New Year's resolutions every year, only around ten percent keep them. Whether it's lack of motivation and resources, some common reasons why New Year's resolutions fail (along with what you can do to succeed) include:

1. Not having enough support

Whatever your New Year's resolutions are, 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.

2. Setting unrealistic goals

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. Examine your resolutions. Are they what you really want? And, most importantly, are they realistic and attainable? Pick one or two goals that you are confident you can achieve within the given timeframe.

3. Giving up too easily

Everyone encounters setbacks in life. But you shouldn't let minor setbacks detail 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 resolution down into smaller weekly goals, so you feel like you're working toward something more immediate. Then make a calendar of something to do every day that'll get you closer to achieving your resolution.

5. Not being honest with yourself

Do you want to lose weight? 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. 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 you 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-enough. It's harder to give up on detailed and specific goals.

Believe in yourself

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

  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.

mental health | wellness | health | healthy living | resolutions