mental health
BY: LBL Team

8 Reasons Why New Year’s Resolutions Fail — And How to Succeed

How to keep your New Year’s resolutions

2024 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. Set benchmarks to meet throughout the year to prevent yourself from giving up too quickly. 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.

7. Ignoring the importance of habit formation

Successfully keeping New Year’s resolutions often hinges on habit formation. It’s about setting goals and creating small, consistent daily habits that lead to big changes over time. Establishing a routine that incorporates your resolutions can be more effective than relying on willpower alone. For instance, if you want to read more, reading for 20 minutes before bed each night can make a significant difference.

8. Neglecting to reflect and adjust goals

Many resolutions fail because there’s no system in place for reflecting on progress and adjusting goals as needed. Regularly assessing how you’re doing and making necessary changes to your resolutions can keep you motivated and on track. This might mean redefining your goals to be more achievable or altering your strategies to overcome challenges. For example, if your resolution is to eat healthier but find it hard to stick to a strict diet, consider adjusting it to include more flexible meal plans.

Believe in yourself

It’s clear why many New Year’s resolutions fail — they’re not goals you actually want to achieve, are not measurable, or 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.


  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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