Why New Year’s Resolutions Fail, And How You Can Change That

Why New Year’s Resolutions Fail, And How You Can Change That

A new year represents a fresh start, so it’s no wonder many people take the opportunity to introduce new habits to improve their lives. However, sustaining a new habit or working towards a goal is not easy; less than 10% of resolutions are achieved, with 25% given up on before 15 January. While the causes may vary, they typically boil down to a few factors.

• Lack of a clear goal: No milestones to work towards, or defined steps to perform

• Overwhelmed: No concrete action plan, goal seems too great to pull off

• No motivation: Change did not happen fast enough

Let’s face it: change is difficult. But as humans, we should always be striving to improve ourselves and adding positivity to our lives. Here are some tips and tricks to boost your resolution’s success rate.

1. Have a solid goal.

Often, life’s routines can create a sense of boredom which we then mistake for dissatisfaction and a desire for change. Our near-constant exposure to the seemingly perfect lives of others on social media does not help.

With the beginning of a new year, take stock of what you have and identify a goal that is truly meaningful to you, such as being healthier, boosting your career, or even just being more contented with life.

2. Make a plan.

“If you fail to plan, you plan to fail” is an old cliché, but that does not make it false. Now that you have an end-goal, you need to figure out how you can get there.

Be specific: write down what you want to achieve, how and when. By breaking down the process, what initially looks like a near-impossible goal becomes much more achievable and measurable.

A top-notch plan will also serve as a progress tracker and provide a visual presentation of how far you’ve come in times where you need encouragement. Craft your personalised plan for success using Ryder Carroll’s Bullet Journal Method.

3. Focus.

Change is hard, so don’t set yourself up for failure by taking on too many challenges. Not only is it exhausting, but it also creates a negative feedback loop when your efforts appear futile and you feel disincentivised.

Also, do not compare your progress with other resolutioners; your goal should be personally meaningful, and your concern should only be if you are progressing towards it. You are the biggest project that you will ever work on, so focus.

Big journeys begin with small steps.

4. Choose discipline over motivation.

You may be tempted to take a break, or a rough day may prevent you from working towards your goal. Remember that it is your cumulative efforts that will get you to where you want, and a day’s setback does not negate the progress that you have made. Keep going!

5. Use the right methods for you.

Richard Wiseman, a psychologist and the author of 59 Seconds and Quirkology, conducted a study involving 3000 resolutioners and learnt that simple goal setting helps men achieve more, while women benefit more from the social support provided by friends and family once they have made their goals public.

Perhaps you have tried making resolutions previously but were not successful. Try approaching it from another angle; instead of aiming to lose weight, work towards a healthier lifestyle. Employ different methods and use a variety of tools to support your endeavour. Simply by being persistent, you will find yourself better off than you were before. 

Some books to help you make 2019 your year!

Need journaling inspiration? Besides Ryder Carroll’s viral The Bullet Journal Method, great references can also be found in The 365 Bullet Guide: Organize Your Life Creatively, One Day at a Time

Feel like you are in a rut workwise? You, Incorporated will help you see your career path from a new perspective while Star Wars: Be More Vader gives light-hearted career tips from the dark side.

Equally parts workout guide and motivational story, Conbody: The Revolutionary Bodyweight Prison Boot Camp, Born from an Extraordinary Story of Hope introduces bodyweight exercises that can be done in the comfort of your home without any equipment.

Want to be less of a morning grouch? Find encouragement in My Morning Routine: How Successful People Start Every Day Inspired

Declutter and refresh your space with Goodbye, Things: On Minimalist Living

Other picks…

Cultivating new habits Atomic Habits: An Easy and Proven Way to Build Good Habits and Break Bad Ones

Finding purpose My Little Ikigai Journal: A Journey into the Japanese Secret to Living a Long, Happy, Purpose-Filled Life

Recharge to take on new challenges Make Yourself Cozy: A Guide for Practicing Self-Care

Ease into meditation Meditation for Fidgety Skeptics: A 10% Happier How-To Book


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