5 Reasons Why New Year's Resolutions Fail (And What You Can Do About It)

5-4-3-2-1 Happy New Year!!!
Woohoo we made it to another year filled with hope, motivation and a laundry list of the things we’d like to change. You’ve bought the new workout apparel, stocked our fridges full of healthy food and bought enough self-improvement books to keep you busy for months. You’re committed to the new you and know you will succeed!

I want you to succeed. I really do. But unfortunately those resolutions are heading for Disappointmentville, USA in about 4-6 weeks.

By mid-February those packed treadmills are collecting dust and those healthy eating habits are replaced more convenient calorie-dense options because meal prep is just way too hard! I don’t mean to rain on your parade, but I do want to give it to you straight.

I’m going to give you the top 5 reasons why New Years Resolutions Fail and what you can do about it.
#1: Your Goals Were Too Big – “But all of the blogs and influencers on Instagram tell me to dream big!”

Yes, you should have a growth mindset and think beyond your horizon, but when goals are too big, we set our expectations too high and can’t cope when we can’t keep up with them. 

For example if your resolution is to workout at the gym every day and you push yourself too hard on Day 1, you’re going to be super sore and frustrated that you are unable to have those killer workouts. (After the third day you should be feeling better FYI).

What you can do about it: Write your goal down and break it into daily, weekly and monthly goals. What do you need to be successful? What’s a reasonable, stretch and all-out-effort goal?

#2: Your Goals Were Too General – “But if I’m too specific, it will limit my success.” 

Being too general lacks direction and energy. It’s like the vanilla ice cream of the flavor line. Without a clearer vision of what you want, you’ll be circling around hoping that your specific goal pops up. Unfortunately you’ll waste a lot of time, energy and patience in the process and will move on to something easier and more gratifying.

What you can do about it: Close your eyes and envision yourself being successful. What do you see around you? What have you accomplished? How do you feel? Who helped you in the process? How did they help you?
#3: You Don’t Know Why You’re Doing It – “Yes, I do! All of the commercials tell me this diet is the best way to lose a lot of weight.” 

Ah yes, the good ole external influence and validation. We convince ourselves that it’s a great idea, but we don’t really know why we’re doing it. We see others do it and it looks easy for them, so we assume it will be easy for us. Unfortunately we don’t see the time, effort and planning needed to change old, nasty habits. Additionally, when goals come from outside of us, we can often get stuck in a comparison loop where we don’t feel like we’re good enough or doing it right.

Resolutions aren’t there to make you feel bad – they’re there to inspire you to be your best self!

What you can do about it: If it feels like your resolutions are coming from outside of you, give yourself some quiet time. It could be as little as ten minutes. When you have that space, ask yourself what do you want and why do you want it? If it keeps coming back to other people or other expectations, keep asking yourself. Make sure you have a paper and pen nearby to capture your thoughts.
#4: It Wasn’t Really a Priority – “Umm scrap-booking is extremely important, and I’m offended that you don’t think that I think it’s a priority!” 

I’m sure those boxes of photos that have been sitting in your closet for five years are a huge priority in your life. This is what we would classify as a nice to get done, but if you’re not motivated to get it done in June, what makes you’ll get it done now? When we have lingering projects that we never seem to get done, it adds additional pressure and stress that demotivates us further.

What you can do about it: If scrap-booking is important to you, connect it to a fun goal or an inner value. Maybe scrap-booking represents a connection to your family or allows you to feel creative. When you feel inspired, create the space and time to get it done. If it feels like a chore, you’re going to treat it like a punishment, so have a little fun and enjoy the process.
#5: You Don’t Think You Deserve It – “Ouch! That’s a tough pill to swallow.” 

I know this can be a hard thing to hear and admit, but let’s be honest with one another. If you thought you were worth it, would you need a proclamation and broadcast to make the change. I’ve seen this happen time and time again with my clients and friends. The ones who are the loudest and most visible about “going to make a change” are the least likely to keep it up.

What you can do about it: Do you believe you are worth the effort? I hope you do and if so, own that confidence and create your plan with a buddy or two to help you motivated and to have more fun. The whole world doesn’t need to know what you’re up to and you don’t need that pressure to succeed.

If you’ve had trouble keeping up with your goals in the past spend some quiet time reflecting on why you think you weren’t as successful and what you can control in the future to have a better outcome.
Additional Resources
I’ve put together this handy dandy Intention-Based Goal-Setting Worksheet to help you get some clarity around your goals for the new year.  Have fun with it and Have an Awesome New Year!