Why New Year’s Resolutions Don’t Work and What You Can Do About It


Have you ever heard of the phrase “New Year, new me”? This phrase reflects how we refuse to be the same person as we were the previous year. As the calendar changes, we would like things – personal or otherwise – to get better. 

The New Year is always a good time to give things a second chance or a fresh new start. This is also the time when we set new goals as we begin a new chapter in life.

But how many of those goals have you ever really accomplished?

Here are some reasons why your resolutions are not working out for you.

1. You Lack the Motivation to Commit

The motivation to do things is what drives you forward.

One reason why most New Year’s resolutions do not work after January is because life gets busier after the first month, leading them to be forgotten and abandoned. This is a result of the lack of commitment to the resolutions. When you take the completion of the resolutions lightly, chances are they were not significant to you to begin with. 

The best way to see your goals come to fruition is by staying focused and keep working on them until they materialize. Hold yourself responsible or get someone to hold you responsible for seeing things through. Set up one or more penalties for yourself if things fall through, and make it/them realistic yet painful for you should your goals not materialize.

2. You Let Procrastination Seep In

Procrastination have caused more than a few of us irreversible regrets.

A chief culprit behind why most goals fall flat is that we do not act immediately, preferring instead to (over)think the situation. This is not to say that there are no benefits to thinking about something beforehand. The problem arise when you overthink, which frequently leads to procrastination and paralysis.

Procrastination is a troublesome ‘mode’ to escape from and is often the cause of many people not starting or doing anything.

3. You Give Up Too Easily

The ability to stay persistent is one of the pillars of success.

Slow and steady wins the race. Furthermore, by leaving your objectives without a time span in which to accomplish them, your motivation can easily run out. Eventually, you may dismiss what you were hoping to accomplish and stop all together. 

By going through smaller objectives, with a particular time period to accomplish them, you are considerably more liable to meet these little achievements towards accomplishing your bigger goal(s).

Along these lines, put a period stamp on your objectives, compare your current progress, and make them adjustments where necessary so that you will be one step closer to your goals.

4. You Didn’t Know That Failure is Normal

Every successful person has encountered numerous setbacks in life.

You can expect to occasionally fail regardless of how hard you work. This is expected. Failure – or more precisely, feedback – is how you can make the necessary adjustments to your plan(s). We have all been there, and it is not fun!

Be that as it may, your ability to handle setbacks is what eventually helps build your character. They likewise contain lessons that can be transformative, if you dare to learn from them. 

Try your best to remain undisturbed in the event that you didn’t accomplish your objectives. Simply observe where things didn’t turn out as expected and utilize that information to fine tune your approach the next time around.

5. Your Resolutions Aren’t Really Yours

Make sure the resolutions are yours.

Many people feel pressured to follow what their friends, family, and neighbors do just to not feel left out. Just because someone said that you should take up aerobics classes doesn’t mean it should be one of your resolutions.

You need to be the exception. The chief reason being resolutions should be something that you care enough about to pursue. They must be tailored to your specific wants and needs, or you risk encountering burnout before you even gained any traction.

With that said, here are four things you can do to make your resolutions stick.

1. You Must Plan Properly

Failing to plan is planning to fail.

Do you know the roadmap to take now that you’ve written down all your resolutions? Most people probably do not and just leave it at that.

Say you want to learn how to golf. What are the things that you need to make this a reality? You’ll probably need a coach, equipment, and time at the very minimum. And this is just the start. You’ll have to know which coach, the type of equipment, and also your availability so that your golf practice doesn’t clash with your other commitments.

In short, having a clear roadmap that you need to follow will give you a better understanding of what is needed and how to get to your destination.

2. Your Goals Need to Be Congruent

Your goals should have minimal contradiction with each other.

You will be shocked at the number of people who fall flat on their resolutions due to clashing goals.

A simple example is wanting to save money for a rainy day while also craving for that designer brand handbag. How exactly do you expect to have anything left in the bank if you have a contradicting goal that requires you to spend money?

The sad thing is many people are caught in this kind of trap without even knowing it. You should, as such, make sure that your goals are pointing in the same direction while making adjustments to those that do not.

3. Do Your Best to Start Small

Try to limit the number of tasks that you do so that you can avoid feeling overwhelmed.

Just because it’s the start of the year doesn’t mean that you need to cram 20 resolutions all at once. Pick the ones that matters most to you for the next however many months and tick them off as they materialize. You can always add more later if you wish.

It’s also important to take small steps one day at a time instead of reaching for the moon from the start.

Rome wasn’t built in a day after all.

4. You Need to Avoid Making the Same Mistake(s)

The saying ‘doing the same thing and expecting different result(s)’ seems appropriate here.

Plans, while important, are rarely if ever perfect. So what do most people do when their realities turned out to be different from their plans? They either give up and place blame on external circumstances or try to do the same thing expecting a different outcome.

You, our dear sleepy readers, know better. You know that it is important to take responsibility for the outcome and have the internal fortitude to change course when things don’t go your way.

Besides, can you imagine if everyone’s plan turns out perfect without any deviations whatsoever? What do you think such a world would look like?


In a Nutshell

New Year’s Resolutions are achievable if you know how to go about it.

Be shrewd when planning and executing your New Year’s resolutions no matter how big or small. You will put yourself in a position of strength if your objectives are quantifiable, feasible, and realistic.

Your resolutions must not contradict each other and if they do, ask yourself which one is more important to you and discard the other.

You need to find the drive internally and/or externally to see your goals through. Procrastinating is easy but will not get you anywhere.

Start small whenever possible and be willing to make adjustments. There is no shame in failing because every failure represents a learning opportunity.