Why New Years Resolutions Fail

New Year’s resolutions come at weird time of the year: after Thanksgiving gorging, stressful holiday shopping, Christmas cookies, and New Year’s Eve drinking.

Expecting to then wake up on January 1 and become a whole “new you” doesn’t really make sense—but every year millions of Americans attempt to perform this hard restart, this mental binge and purge.

The idea that we can be our ideal selves just because a calendar page flipped also serves as a mechanism to justify bad behavior during the holidays. “Sure I ate 18 cookies and washed ’em down with 4 glasses of wine … but come January 1st, all that will change!”

There are a few simple reasons why nearly 90 percent of New Year’s resolutions fail. Knowing them may help yours succeed.

Too Many Abrupt Changes Too Quickly

Tthe biggest thing we need to understand when achieving resolutions is the difference between changing habits and making resolutions.

Oftentimes, our resolutions are too large, or we make too many. This behavior is a form of self-sabotage, setting ourselves up for failure.

To successfully achieve our resolutions, understand that small, short-term goals are the most effective. Taking resolutions one step at a time is the best way to succeed.

Fear Gets in the Way

We also often set our goals too high, and the totality of the situation can backfire. Because once the initial excitement is gone, fear takes over.

This is where the true self-sabotage starts. Before we know it, we’re back to square one. We’ve stopped going to the gym, eating right, organizing our finances—everything.

Fear is a powerful emotion. Fear can override our priorities and trash the goals we set for the New Year. Fear of failure, success, or just fear of change—the basic concept of stepping outside our comfort zones—can stop us in our tracks before resolution can transform into habit.

Face your fears—that’s the crucial first step.

While it’s scary to wander outside of our comfort zones, look at the big picture: see what committing to positive change will bring us in the end.

new years resolutions

How to Make Your Resolutions Stick

Abrupt changes may seem exciting at first, but when we have to change a good part of our daily routine to achieve our goals, we become too scared to continue and fall back into bad habits.

Here are some tips for making your resolutions stick:

1. Make it tangible, make it possible

Instead of stating you will lose 20 pounds in 2023, say instead that you’ll walk everyday for 2 weeks, or try the Plate Method to practice portion control, try a new diet, or eat more fruits to achieve our weight loss goals.

2. Know what will bring you success

People treat resolutions, goals, and habits differently. Some people may need to write down goals to keep track, while others need to talk out their habits and goals. Play around with various methods of holding yourself accountable. Find the right one for you and stick with it.

3. Get support

Friends, family, PHMP Health Coaches—whatever works best for you, tap into the resources you have. Start groups with friends to hold everyone accountable. It’s amazing what we can achieve with a little teamwork.

4. Set short-term goals

It takes 17 to 21 days to form a habit, and there are many types. There are Daily Habits, and there are Weekly, Monthly, and Yearly Habits. Soldier through; keep a goal for just 21 days and boom: you will find that success has been right in front of you the whole time.

5. Use positive motivation

Paired with giving yourself small rewards for achieving your new, simplified goals, thinking more positively can have a huge impact on your success.

6. Use tech

There are loads of motivation apps out there. You can even set reminders in your calendar that’ll pop up daily and reenforce your ambitions. Toy around with the options

(This author’s favorite productivity and positive-habit-building app is Forest, available on Apple and Android. It encourages focus when engaging with tasks and presents visual results.)

7. Set super-low goals

One method that may work better for those with motivation problems is setting your goals so low that they’re nearly impossible not to achieve. For example, instead of aiming to workout three times a week, start with just two squats a day. You’ll find that the goal is so low and the change is so miniscule that you won’t actually stop at just two.

8. Try the 10 percent rule

Change 10 percent of your habits each month. If you’re looking to improve your health, that could mean adding five minutes of stretching one month and replacing a morning pastry with a piece of fruit the next.

Large disruptions in our lives—such as going to the gym for an hour after not going to the gym in, like, forever—ultimately meets failure; it’s simply too big an interruption

If all else fails, here’s a great New Years Resolution: stop making resolutions. Focus on the now. Lift that weight, toss that candy bar, go for that walk. You did that right this moment.

That means you can do it again.

This article was brought to you by the Proactive Health Management Plan in partnership with Healthline.

  • Michelle Baker
    Posted at 21:10h, 09 January

    I set goals myself.

    Posted at 16:35h, 09 January

    Great info!

  • Grace Ramos
    Posted at 15:07h, 09 January

    Good read

  • Marcia Kaye Collier
    Posted at 00:21h, 09 January

    Great advice

  • Kim Bigalk
    Posted at 21:06h, 08 January

    Thank you for the Information

  • Vilija Paulius
    Posted at 14:28h, 07 January

    Thanks for helpful tips!

  • Shannon Gremminger
    Posted at 13:24h, 06 January


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