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16 Reasons Why New Year’s Resolutions Fail

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16 Reasons Why New Year’s Resolutions Fail

A new year beautifully symbolizes a new chapter opening in the book that is your life. But while so many people like you aspire to achieve ambitious goals, only 12% of you will ever experience the taste of victory. Sound bad?

It is. 156 million people (that’s 156,000,000) will probably give up on their resolution before you can say “confetti.” Keep on reading to learn why New Year’s resolutions fail (and how to succeed).

So why do new year’s resolutions fail? Let’s take a look at the 16 reasons.

Note: Since losing weight is the most common New Year’s resolution[1], I chose to focus on weight loss (but these principles can be applied to just about any goal you think of — make it work for you!).

1. You’re Treating a Marathon Like a Sprint

Slow and steady habit change might not be sexy, but it’s a lot more effective than the “I want it ALL and I want it NOW!” mentality. Small changes stick better because they aren’t intimidating (if you do it right, you’ll barely even notice them!).

If you have a lot of bad habits today, the last thing you need to do is remodel your entire life overnight. Want to lose weight? Stop it with the crash diets and excessive exercise plans.

“A failure to take precise and deliberate action is the reason why so many New Year’s resolutions and other goals fail.” – Jordan Ring

Instead of following a super restrictive plan that bans anything fun, add one positive habit per week. For example, you could start with something easy like drinking more water during your first week.

The following week, you could move on to eating 3 fruits and veggies every day. And the next week, you could aim to eat a fistful of protein at every meal.

2. You Put the Cart Before the Horse

“Supplementing” a crappy diet is stupid, so don’t even think about it. Focus on the actions that produce the overwhelming amount of results. If it’s not important, don’t worry about it.

3. You Don’t Believe in Yourself

A failure to act can cripple you before you leave the starting line. If you’ve tried (and failed) to set a New Year’s resolution (or several) in the past, I know it might be hard to believe in yourself.

Doubt is a nagging voice in your head that will resist personal growth with every ounce of its being.

The only way to defeat doubt is to believe in yourself. Who cares if you’ve failed a time or two? This year, you can try again (but better this time).

4. Too Much Thinking, Not Enough Doing

The best self-help book in the world can’t save you if you fail to take action.

“There are two mistakes one can make along the road to truth…not going all the way, and not starting.” – Buddha

Yes, seek inspiration and knowledge, but only as much as you can realistically apply to your life. If you can put just one thing you learn from every book or article you read into practice, you’ll be on the fast track to success.

5. You’re in Too Much of A Hurry

If it was quick-and-easy, everybody would do it, so it’s in your best interest to exercise your patience muscles.

6. You Don’t Enjoy the Process

Is it any wonder people struggle with their weight when they see eating as a chore and exercise as a dreadful bore?

The best fitness plan is one that causes the least interruption to your daily life. The goal isn’t to add stress to your life, but rather to remove it.

The best of us couldn’t bring ourselves to do something we hate consistently, so make getting in shape fun, however you’ve gotta do it.

“Your present circumstances don’t determine where you can go. They merely determine where you start.” – Nido Qubein

That could be participating in a sport you love, exercising with a good friend or two, joining a group exercise class so you can meet new people, or giving yourself one “free day” per week where you forget about your training plan and exercise in any way you please.

7. You’re Trying Too Hard

Unless you want to experience some nasty cravings, don’t deprive your body of pleasure. The more you tell yourself you can’t have food, the more you’re going to want it.

“Instead of trying to change your entire life in January, the simpler strategy is to adopt a 12-month plan where you’re making constant improvements.” – S. J. Scott

As long as you’re making positive choices 80-90% of the time, don’t sweat the occasional indulgence.

8. You Don’t Track Your Progress

Keeping a written record of your training progress will help you sustain an “I CAN do this” attitude. All you need is a notebook and a pen.

For every workout, record what exercises you do, the number of repetitions performed, and how much weight you used if applicable. Your goal? Do better next time.

Improving your best performance on a regular basis offers positive feedback that will encourage you to keep going.

9. You Have No Social Support

It can be hard to stay motivated when you feel alone. The good news? You’re not alone: far from it. Post a status on Facebook asking your friends if anybody would like to be your gym or accountability buddy.

If you know a co-worker who shares your goal, try to coordinate your lunch time and go out together so you’ll be more likely to make positive decisions.

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Join a support group of like-minded folks on Facebook, LinkedIn, or elsewhere on the internet. Strength in numbers is powerful, so use it to your advantage.

10. Figures are Not in Your Favor

As per Statistic Brain Research Institute, only 8% of the people who make new year’s resolutions can stick to it. [2]

Success and failures are a part of life, but would you really be encouraged by these figures?

Let’s say you are a very positive person, and do you decide to make a New Year resolution! What would happen if you fall into the segment of that 92% of the people who failed? Moreover, what would happen if this happens every year with your smart goals or resolutions?

Another study done on 2000 Americans in 2020 was published in the People says that these people only managed to keep their resolutions for a maximum of 36 days. [3]

This is not what one aims for when making a new year’s resolution!

With these figures, doesn’t it feel like making a new year’s resolution is just setting yourself up for failure?

11. New Year Resolutions Seldom Have an Opposite Effect

If you fall into the category of people who have made new year’s resolutions in the past and have failed, then you would easily relate to this fact. People make different resolutions like quitting smoking, eating less, waking up early, exercising regularly, etc.

However, as time passes, the resolve to continue on the path weakens, and people fall back to their old habits.

The worst part is that they are worse than before in terms of their resolve keep! For example, people tend to smoke more once they take up the habit again after a failed new year’s resolution, and the same goes with other resolutions.

Now just think about it! Instead of eating healthier, people fall back on their old habits of eating junk food!

Isn’t it bad that smokers who puffed five cigarettes a day now consume more than ten after the failed effort?

All these efforts just to make things worse!

12. Breaking and Forming Habits is Not a One-Day Errand

Whether we talk about giving up smoking or exercising daily, or controlling weight – none of these are tasks that can be achieved in one day. You need consistency if you want these goals to be achievable! Something that cannot be defined by date.

When you resolve to quit tobacco on New Year, you plan to quit forever and not just for one day or a few days, isn’t it? It is a habit and a process that would make you successful. Making a resolution will not help to follow through with your set goals, but your determination would!

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13. Repeated Failures Breaks Your Confidence

Sure, this reason is on the top of the list! Why? Well, remember the resolutions you made last year? Or the years before that? How many of those did you actually succeed in achieving? The numbers aren’t impressive, right?

Now, think about what it did to you over the years? We mean the impact of repeated failures on your resolve to follow through with your resolutions. Did you succeed at the second attempt? Or the third? Or fourth?

Repeated failures break our will and confidence to do something. The constant reminder of failing every time is discouraging for anyone. After a while, it stops you even from developing that courage to make a resolution.

Also, the impact on self-image depletes on account of repeated failures. You start believing that you do not have what it takes to do or achieve something.

Now, the question is, why bother punishing your mental wellbeing on account of the new year’s resolution?

14. You’re Just Procrastinating

If you really want to do it, why wait for some date?

Some even believe that New Year’s resolution is just a gimmick, simply a result of copy+paste! Confused? Just like one can copy the content in the word document, people copy the resolutions of others that they find interesting or challenging!

The question to be asked is, why do you have to wait for a particular date to do something if it’s really important to you? Your short term and long term goals are not bound by any date!

Whether losing weight or quitting alcohol, why wait for some made-up resolution date and torment your body with over-consumption until that date arrives. And only to keep that resolve to quit junk food or quit alcohol or give up smoking just for a few days!

Don’t you agree that most of the people who take up new year’s resolutions fall back on their old habits in a short span of time?

The point is – if you really want to do something or give up something, you need not wait for any date to start putting in an effort. Everything that shapes your future begins now!

15. Non-Accomplishment Brings Negativity

People who fail to stick to their resolutions often resent making the decision in the first place. They give out reasons or even blame others for their failures. The resultant behavior reflects anger and negativity.

About 80% of the new year’s resolution fail every year. [4]

Now, think what would happen if the same thing happens over and over again? Would you be gleaming with confidence or brooding over the decisions you made?

All the efforts and courage to make those resolutions go down the drain in a short span of time. Eventually, negativity replaces audacity in your subconscious and traps you in believing that you do not have what it takes to follow through with your resolution.

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16. You Know Your What but Not Your Why

The biggest reason why most New Year’s resolutions fail: you know what you want but you not why you want it.

“The bad news is time flies. The good news is you’re the pilot.” – Michael Altshuler

Yes: you want to get fit, lose weight, or be healthy… but why is your goal important to you? For example:

Do you want to be fit so you can be a positive example that your children can admire and look up to?

Do you want to lose fat so you’ll feel more confident and sexy in your body than ever before?

Do you want to be healthy so you’ll have increased clarity, energy, and focus that would carry over into every single aspect of your life?

Whether you’re getting in shape because you want to live longer, be a good example, boost your energy, feel confident, have an excuse to buy hot new clothes, or increase your likelihood of getting laid (hey, I’m not here to judge) is up to you.

Forget about any preconceived notions and be true to yourself.

  • The more specific you can make your goal,
  • The more vivid it will be in your imagination,
  • The more encouraged you’ll be,
  • The more likely it is you will succeed (because yes, you CAN do this!).

New Year’s Resolutions May Just Be a Bad Idea

Majority of the New Year’s resolutions witness failures.

“Each year’s regrets are envelopes in which messages of hope are found for the New Year.” ― John R. Dallas Jr

Why is it that most of us make plans with such great commitment and resolve but fail to follow through with it? Is it that we lack confidence or purpose? Or is it because of low willpower?

Whatever the reason may be, it surely makes us check if the new year’s resolution is a bad idea in totality.

People make new year resolutions like quitting alcohol, losing weight, giving up bad habits, etc. However, not many realize the long-standing impact of failure to stick to new year resolutions.

Moreover, if one cannot stick to their resolutions repeatedly over the years, the constant self-disappointment is further saddening.

So if there’s a goal that you really want to achieve, don’t wait for the new year. Simply ask yourself why you’re doing it and start making plans for it. Here’s a guide to help you: Achieving Goals: The Ultimate Guide to Goal Achieving & Goal Setting

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Featured photo credit: nine koepfer via unsplash.com


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Daniel Wallen

Daniel is a writer who focuses on blogging about happiness and motivation at Lifehack.

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