Why New Years Resolutions Fail … How To Make Them Stick

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Let me first say, I don’t believe in New Year’s Resolutions. There, I said it. Now that I have that off my chest, I can move on.  New Year’s Resolutions simply don’t work.

The term “New Year’s Resolution” leaves a bad taste in most people’s mouths. It’s a trigger term for a lot of people who know the stats, 50 to 80 percent of people who set them will not achieve their desired outcome.

Many sociologists and psychologists conclude that New Year’s resolutions fail for a number of reasons. Based on my research, here are the reasons MOST people fail:

  • They set far too many goals that are too massive and too widespread.
  • It’s not something they really WANT to do. It feels more like a chore than positive change.
  • They underestimate the amount of time it takes to form new healthy habits. Let me tell you folks, it’s not the 21 days you hear about in popular culture. Forming a habit takes more work than that.
  • They don’t build up to the resolution. They make the decision in a vacuum. They haven’t made space for it to happen.
  • They create empty “positive affirmations” without digging into the problem that got them where they are in the first place. As Gabby Bernstein, author of “The Universe Has Your Back” says, people want to place affirmations on top of bullshit that they haven’t worked through yet.

Most people backslide after a few weeks. By the time that February rolls around, they are saying “What diet?” or “What resolution?.”  Since resolutions have such a bad connotation—I believe in setting intentions. Intentions are more powerful than resolutions.

Here are 11 ways to set powerful intentions and to get your new year off to a great start:

  1. Focus on one or two intentions at a time rather than several. 
    It’s easier to manage one or two goals rather than a boat load of them!
  2. Get Clear and Get Specific. 
    Making more money or getting out of debt is not a specific goal. Increasing my business revenue by 10% by March 31 would be. Or paying off my lowest credit card by June is a step in the right direction.
  3. Don’t wait till New Year’s Eve to set intentions. 
    Break your goal into 90 day chunks. 90 days is enough time to see some progress but short enough to keep you motivated.
  4. Take bite size steps.
    The average person quits because the goal is too big requiring too big a step all at once;
  5. Sprinkle in some accountability. 
    Entice a friend to help you with this journey. Bring in someone close that you have to report to on your progress. Schedule daily or weekly check-ins.
  6. Celebrate small wins
    Did you go a week without having sweets? Did you make it to the gym for 5 days in a row? Rejoice over your success between milestones. Acknowledge when you had a really great day or moment in time.  Stop waiting until a goal is complete to celebrate.
  7. Live in the moment
    Sometimes we get so caught up in how audacious a goal appears to be. Focus on what you can do today, right now to get you closer to your goal.
  8. Shift your thinking. 
    Focus your thinking on new behaviors and thought patterns. You have to create new neural pathways in your brain to change habits.
  9. Practice mindfulness. 
    Become emotionally, physically, and mentally aware of your inner state as each external event happens, moment by moment, rather than living in the past or future.
  10. Be kind To yourself.
    Mis-steps and slip-ups happen. Don’t dwell on the negative or beat yourself up. Give yourself permission to be human. Remember there is always tomorrow and you can always get yourself back on track.
  11. Meditate. Creating a meditation practice offers clarity and brings a higher level of consciousness. This will allow you to stay in tune with your goals.

What do you personally do to help you stay on track with your New Year’s Resolutions? Share your suggestions in the comments below.