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Why New Year’s Resolutions Fail and How to Keep Them

Ah, the New Year – a time of champagne toasts, fireworks, and, of course, those ever-optimistic New Year’s resolutions. It’s as if the whole world hits the reset button, promising that this year will be different. But let’s be brutally honest, shall we? How many of those glittering resolutions actually see the light of February? Why do these New Year’s resolutions fail more often than a cheap firework on a rainy night?

You see, it’s one thing to declare your New Year resolutions as the clock strikes midnight, quite another to keep them. By mid-January, the gyms start emptying, the diet books gather dust, and the savings accounts… well, let’s not even go there. So, what’s the deal? Why do these well-intentioned promises fade faster than the holiday tan?

It’s a conundrum wrapped in an enigma, smothered in a secret glaze. But fear not, in this blog post we’ll unravel this mystery. We’re going to dive into the why and how – why your New Year’s resolutions are about as sturdy as a house of cards in a wind tunnel, and how you can turn them into the Great Wall of personal achievement.

First off, let’s talk about the allure of the New Year. It’s a clean slate, a fresh start, a blank page. And therein lies the trap – the illusion that the turn of a calendar page will magically bestow upon us the willpower and determination we’ve lacked. It’s like expecting a new pair of running shoes to make you faster. Newsflash – it’s not the shoes; it’s the miles you put into them.

Now, let’s sprinkle in a bit of reality – change is hard. It’s a journey fraught with bumps, twists, and the occasional flat tire. Setting a goal is the easy part, like saying you’ll climb Everest. The hard part is actually doing it – the training, the climbing, the relentless pushing forward. That’s where most resolutions crumble like a cookie in a toddler’s grip.

But don’t let this dishearten you. This tale isn’t a doom-and-gloom prophecy; it’s a wake-up call. It’s about understanding the pitfalls and arming yourself with the right tools and mindset to overcome them. It’s about learning the art of turning those New Year resolutions into habits – sturdy, reliable, and built to last.

In the coming paragraphs, we’re going to explore how you can do just that. We’ll delve into the psychology of habit formation, the power of small victories, and the importance of enjoying the journey, not just the destination. We’re talking real, practical, hold-it-in-your-hand advice that’s as useful as a Swiss Army knife in a survival situation.

We’re about to embark on a journey to transform your New Year’s resolutions from fleeting wishes into concrete, achievable realities. Say goodbye to the annual cycle of resolution relapse, and hello to a year of genuine, lasting change. It’s time to understand why New Year’s resolutions fail and how to keep them. 

1. Goal Smashing

First up, the daunting task of breaking down your goals. Think of it like eating a pizza – you wouldn’t shove the whole thing in your mouth at once, right? (Or maybe you would, but let’s not get into that). The point is, large goals can be overwhelming, like staring up at Everest in flip-flops. Break them into smaller, more digestible chunks. Want to write a book? Start with a chapter, a page, or even just a paragraph a day. Looking to get fit? Begin with short, regular workouts, then gradually increase the intensity.

Now, here’s the magic in breaking down goals: it gives you a clear path. Each small step is a mini-goal, a checkpoint on your journey. And every time you hit one of these checkpoints, guess what? You get a psychological high-five. These little wins keep your motivation engine running. They’re like breadcrumbs leading you to the gingerbread house, except in this story, the witch is procrastination, and you’re about to kick her out of the kitchen.

Remember, the journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. So, make that step small enough that it’s not intimidating, but significant enough that it moves you forward.

2. Accountability Partner

Next, let’s talk about accountability – it’s like having a gym buddy for your goals. When you’re only accountable to yourself, it’s easy to slip up and make excuses. But when someone else is in the mix, suddenly, it’s game on. Find someone who will hold you accountable. It could be a friend, a colleague, or even an online community. Share your goals with them, and regularly update them on your progress.

But here’s the twist – don’t just pick anyone. Choose someone who won’t let you off the hook easily, someone who’ll call you out when you start slacking. This person is not just a cheerleader; they’re your coach, your mentor. They’ll celebrate your wins, but they’ll also give you that tough love when you need it.

Be transparent about your struggles and setbacks. It’s not just about reporting the good stuff; it’s about being honest when things aren’t going as planned. This openness creates a support system that’s invaluable. Your accountability partner can offer new perspectives, help you troubleshoot problems, and give you that nudge when your motivation is running on empty.

3.  Visualize Success – See It to Achieve It

It’s time to daydream!  Visualize success. This isn’t just hippie-dippie stuff; it’s backed by science. When you visualize your success, you create a mental image of what achieving your goal looks and feels like. This process does wonders for your motivation. It’s like giving your brain a preview of the upcoming attractions. Your brain starts to believe in the possibility of success, which in turn fuels your determination to get there.

But how do you do it effectively? It’s more than just daydreaming. Set aside a few minutes each day to close your eyes and vividly imagine reaching your goal. Feel the emotions, see the details, hear the sounds. Are you crossing the finish line of a marathon? Hear the crowd cheering, feel the sweat on your brow, see the tape breaking as you run through it. This mental rehearsal primes your brain for action.

And here’s the kicker – combine visualization with action. Don’t just dream about the finish line; visualize the steps you’re taking to get there. See yourself lacing up your running shoes, hitting the pavement, feeling the burn in your legs. This combination of dream and action creates a powerful synergy that keeps you grounded in reality while aiming for the stars.

4.  Embrace the Power of Routine

Ever noticed how some things just become second nature? That’s the power of routine, my friends. It’s like autopilot for your goals. But here’s the key – your routine should be as sacred as the secret recipe for your grandma’s lasagna. Guard it zealously. Whether it’s a morning jog, a nightly reading session, or a weekly review of your progress, make it a non-negotiable part of your day.

Now, I hear you say, “But routines are boring!” Sure, they can be, but think of it this way: routines are the framework upon which the masterpiece of your goal is built. They’re the rhythm to your blues, the bass to your funk. By sticking to a routine, you’re reducing the mental load it takes to make decisions. You don’t have to decide to work towards your goal every day; it becomes just something you do.

But remember, flexibility is key. Life is like a mischievous cat – it doesn’t always play by the rules. So, if your routine gets disrupted, don’t throw in the towel. Adjust, adapt, and get back on track. The path to success isn’t a straight line; it’s more like a dance, with steps forward, backward, and sometimes sideways.

5.  Reward Yourself – The Carrot on the Stick

Who doesn’t love a good pat on the back, especially when it’s for something you’ve worked hard for? That’s what rewards are – your own personal “Well done!” Setting up a system of rewards can be a fantastic motivator. But here’s the trick – the reward should be proportional to the achievement. Finished a week of healthy eating? Treat yourself to a movie night. Completed a month of gym sessions? Maybe it’s time for those new sneakers you’ve been eyeing.

Rewards work because they tap into a basic principle of human behaviour: we’re more likely to repeat actions that make us feel good. It’s the old carrot-and-stick approach, but in this case, you’re both the carrot-wielder and the donkey chasing it.

But don’t just focus on material rewards. Sometimes, the best reward is an internal one. Take a moment to acknowledge your progress and revel in the satisfaction of a job well done. It’s about celebrating the journey, not just the destination.

6. Cultivate Resilience – Bounce Back Stronger

Here’s a hard truth – you’re going to face setbacks. The road to success is littered with flat tires, speed bumps, and the occasional pothole. But it’s not about avoiding these obstacles; it’s about learning to bounce back from them. That, my friends, is resilience.

When you hit a snag, take a step back and assess. What went wrong? How can you prevent it from happening again? Use setbacks as learning experiences, not excuses to give up. Remember, every great story has a conflict. It’s what makes the resolution so sweet.

And here’s a little secret – sometimes, the goal itself might change as you progress. And that’s okay! Goals aren’t set in stone. They’re living, breathing aspirations that evolve as you do. Be open to reassessing and realigning your goals as you grow.

7.  Stay Curious – The Learning Leverage

Let’s talk about curiosity – it’s not just for cats, you know. Curiosity is the secret that can add zing to your goal-achieving journey. When you approach your goals with a mindset of learning and discovery, it changes the game. It’s no longer just about ticking a box; it’s about growing and expanding your horizons.

Think about it – if your goal is to learn a new language, don’t just focus on the words and grammar. Dive into the culture, the history, the cuisine. Make it a delicious adventure, not a tedious task. If fitness is your aim, learn about how your body works, experiment with different workouts, understand nutrition. When your goal becomes a journey of discovery, it stays fresh and exciting.

Curiosity also means being open to new methods and ideas. What you start with might not be the best way for you. Be willing to tweak and tailor your approach. Be the DJ of your own life, mixing and remixing until you find the perfect groove.

8.  Connect with Like-Minded People – The Power of Community

No man, or woman, is an island. And why would you want to be when you can be part of a rocking archipelago? Finding a community of like-minded individuals can be a massive boost to reaching your goals. These are people who share your passions, understand your struggles, and can offer support, advice, and encouragement.

Whether it’s a local club, an online forum, or a social media group, getting involved with a community brings a sense of belonging. It’s like having a cheerleading squad, a think tank, and a support group all rolled into one. Sharing your journey with others makes it more enjoyable and less daunting.

Also, don’t underestimate the power of giving back to this community. Helping others with their goals can provide new insights into your own journey. It’s a two-way street where everyone benefits. Plus, there’s something deeply satisfying about helping someone else climb their mountain as you climb yours.

9. Reflect and Revise – The Art of Adaptation

Let’s talk about reflection and revision. This is where you take a step back, look at your progress, and ask yourself some honest questions. Are you moving towards your goal? What’s working and what isn’t? Is this goal still relevant to you?

Regular reflection allows you to celebrate your progress and adjust your course when necessary. You are the captain of your ship, navigating through the seas of your journey. Sometimes you might need to adjust your sails, change direction, or even weather a storm. But that’s all part of the voyage.

Don’t be afraid to revise your goals if circumstances change. Life is unpredictable, and flexibility is a strength, not a weakness. Your goals should serve you, not the other way around. They should be like clay in your hands, ready to be reshaped as needed – that’s how you keep your New Year’s resolutions.

10. Embrace the Power of ‘Why’

First up, let’s drill down to the core, the heart, the very nucleus of your goals – your ‘Why’. Understanding why you’re pursuing a goal is like having a compass in the middle of the wilderness. It guides you, keeps you on track, and reminds you why you started this journey in the first place.

Your ‘Why’ should be strong, personal, and powerful. It’s not just about losing weight; it’s about being healthy to play with your kids. Not just about saving money; it’s about that dream house or the security you’ll provide for your family. When the going gets tough, and believe me, it will, your ‘Why’ is the anchor that keeps your ship steady.

So, take some time to reflect. Dig deep. Why is this goal important to you? Write it down, make a vision board, sing it in the shower – whatever works for you. When your motivation starts to wane, that ‘Why’ will be your reminder and Why you created those New Year’s resolutions.

11. Turn Obstacles into Opportunities

Now, let’s flip the script on obstacles. Instead of viewing them as roadblocks, see them as opportunities for growth and creativity. Every obstacle is a puzzle waiting to be solved, a challenge to be overcome. It’s like a video game where each level gets a bit tougher, but oh, the satisfaction when you beat it!

When faced with an obstacle, instead of asking “Why me?”, ask “What can I learn from this?” or “How can I use this to my advantage?” This shift in mindset can turn a seemingly insurmountable hurdle into a stepping stone.

Remember, the most compelling stories come from overcoming adversity. So, when you encounter obstacles, get excited – you’re about to add an epic chapter to your story and keep those New Year’s resolutions.

12.  Celebrate the Process, Not Just the Product

Celebrate the process, not just the product. We’re often so fixated on the end goal that we forget to enjoy the journey. But here’s the thing – the journey is where the magic happens. It’s where you learn, grow, and discover things about yourself you never knew.

Find joy in the small things – the quiet satisfaction of ticking off a daily task, the thrill of learning a new skill, the peace of a morning routine. These moments are part of your success story.

And when you do achieve your New Year’s resolutions, by all means, celebrate it. Throw a party, do a happy dance, shout it from the rooftops. But then, take a moment to reflect on the journey – the struggles, the victories, the lessons learned. That’s where the real gold lies.

13. Flex Your ‘No’ Muscle

First off, let’s talk about the power of saying ‘No’. In a world where we’re often pressured to juggle multiple commitments, learning to say ‘No’ is crucial. It’s about setting boundaries and prioritizing your goals. Every ‘Yes’ to something irrelevant is a ‘No’ to your own goals. It’s like trying to fill a cup with a hole in the bottom – pointless and frustrating.

Start by evaluating your commitments. Are they aligned with your goals? Do they add value to your life? If not, it might be time to politely decline. Remember, saying ‘No’ isn’t about being rude or selfish; it’s about respecting your time and your goals.

14. The Art of Pivoting

Learn to embrace the art of pivoting. Sometimes, despite your best efforts, a goal might not pan out the way you envisioned. That’s not failure; that’s a sign to pivot. Pivoting means reassessing your approach and making necessary changes. It’s like being a navigator recalibrating your route mid-journey.

Don’t be afraid to change course if something isn’t working. The key is to stay committed to your destination, even if the path to get there looks different than you initially planned. Be agile, be adaptable, and keep your eyes on the prize.

15.  Maintain a Balance – Life is Not Just About Goals

Lastly, let’s not forget about balance. Yes, goals are important, but so is living your life. Don’t become so obsessed with your goals that you forget to enjoy the present. Life is happening now, not just in some distant future when you’ve ticked off all your boxes.

Take time to relax, have fun, and indulge in activities that have nothing to do with your goals. Giving your brain a well-deserved vacation. This downtime is essential – it prevents burnout and keeps you mentally and emotionally healthy.

Conclusion

We’ve delved deep into the heart of why those shiny New Year’s resolutions often end up gathering dust by February. But more importantly, we’ve armed ourselves with some solid, real-world strategies to ensure this year is different.

The big lesson here? It’s all about bringing those big dreams down to earth and embedding them into our daily lives. It turns out, the secret for keeping resolutions isn’t just about lofty aspirations; it’s about making them part of your routine, as normal as your morning coffee.

So, remember: those resolutions of yours? They’re not just wishful thinking. They’re potential waiting to be turned into action. Whether it’s chunking them down into bite-sized tasks, finding a buddy to keep you in check, or simply giving yourself a well-earned pat on the back, it’s these small, consistent steps that will take you from dreaming to doing.

Now, go forth into this year not just with New Year’s resolutions, but with resolve. Make those goals stick, and create a year of turning ‘someday’ into ‘today’. 

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About Lilach Bullock


Hi, I’m Lilach, a serial entrepreneur! I’ve spent the last 2 decades starting, building, running, and selling businesses in a range of niches. I’ve also used all that knowledge to help hundreds of business owners level up and scale their businesses beyond their beliefs and expectations.

I’ve written content for authority publications like Forbes, Huffington Post, Inc, Twitter, Social Media Examiner and 100’s other publications and my proudest achievement, won a Global Women Champions Award for outstanding contributions and leadership in business.

My biggest passion is sharing knowledge and actionable information with other business owners. I created this website to share my favorite tools, resources, events, tips, and tricks with entrepreneurs, solopreneurs, small business owners, and startups. Digital marketing knowledge should be accessible to all, so browse through and feel free to get in touch if you can’t find what you’re looking for!

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