Why New Years Resolutions Don’t Work (And What You Should Do Instead!)

Did you know that New Year’s resolutions have been around for more than 4000 years?

You’d think by now we’d have figured out how to actually keep them!

Studies have shown that over 80% of New Year’s resolutions end up broken – and most of them by the middle of January.

Making a New Year’s resolution can be overwhelming and defeating if you don’t achieve it during the year.

But, yet, we keep making them!

To help you tackle your New Year’s resolution, let’s look at why they don’t work and what you can do instead:

Why Don’t New Year’s Resolutions Work?

1. The Resolutions Are Unrealistic

New Year’s resolutions should be focused on what you would like to do, not what you “should” do!

Many people set difficult objectives that become unreachable or easy goals that quickly become boring.

If you’re going to set a New Year’s resolution, make sure it is something that is attainable.

And if it’s a big goal, ensure that you can break it down into smaller chunks.

For instance, if you want to increase the number of books you read this year, don’t expect to finish 100 by December.

Instead, look at how many you read on average and increase it a bit. If you tend to read one book every two months, aim to read one book every month.

If that seems too challenging (especially for busy parents!), you can break it down even further to read one chapter every two days.

In order to keep a resolution, you have to be able to change your behavior so make sure your goals are realistic.

2. Progress Isn’t Tracked

If you’re not keeping track of your progress, it can be easy to lose sight of your goal and get off track.

Try to take a look at your progress every week! You can use a bullet journal or just a plain journal to do this.

If you can measure your progress, you can see how far you’ve come and what can be improved upon.

For example, if your New Year’s resolution is to lose weight (a very common one!), you can track your week each week.

It can be motivating to see progress! But if you don’t see progress, you can change the way you are approaching your goal, such as adjusting your diet or increasing your exercise.

Tracking your progress will help you not overthink your goal and help you stay consistent with your resolution.

Read More: Your New Year’s Resolution – Set a SMARTER Goal


3. No Accountability

When you simply throw a New Year’s resolution into the ether, it can be hard to work on achieving your goal when there is no one to hold you accountable.

An accountability partner, whether a friend, a mentor or a coach, will help motivate you to accomplish more and work on your resolution.

Also, you should avoid people who aren’t motivating and drag you down. You need people around you who are encouraging and motivating.

4. The Resolution Wasn’t Planned Out

Successfully reaching a goal like a New Year’s resolution takes a bit of planning – this is where breaking your goal into smaller steps helps!

When you do this, you can schedule your steps on a calendar in order to create a plan that also gives you bite-sized accomplishments along the way.

Otherwise, you may just tell yourself you have the year to achieve your goal and keep pushing progress to the next month and the next month.

Planning out your New Year’s resolution will also help you map out any potential challenges and boost your chances of success!

Learn More: 5 Ways to Hack Your New Year’s Resolution


5. The Resolution is Unclear

Many people who make New Year’s resolutions fail to establish their “why.”

The “why” is what will motivate you to take action and achieve your goal!

Even if you know what you want, you need to really think about why you want it.

For example, with the weight loss thing, it’s one thing to want to lose 20 pounds, but why do you want to lose it? Do you want to be healthier? Fit into your old jeans? Look good at the beach?

Think about your emotional connection to the “why,” and you’ll find yourself making fewer excuses as you work on your New Year’s resolution.

6. Self-Doubt

Sometimes self-doubt can get in the way of making a New Year’s resolution in the first place.

If you haven’t been able to keep one in the past, why make one now?

Because now you understand why they don’t work and have some tips on how to be successful!

But there are also things you can do instead of making a New Year’s resolution:

What Can You Do Instead of Making a New Year’s Resolution?

Make a Bucket List

Instead of thinking about a goal you want to reach in the new year, why not create a list of things you want to experience?

Think about places you want to go, activities or hobbies you want to try, and foods you want to taste.

Practice Gratitude

Practicing gratitude is an amazing way to create a positive outlook during the new year!

Gratitude exercises also help reduce anxiety and depression and can help you feel more energized.

You can start a gratitude journal and write down what you are thankful for on a daily or weekly basis. You can also extend your gratitude to other people by writing them notes or simply saying “thanks.”

Create Monthly Challenges

Instead of focusing your entire year on one goal, you can dedicate each month to a smaller goal and achieve more.

For instance, one month, you can challenge yourself to walk every day, and the next, to learn a new hobby or create a budget.

This way, you won’t get bored with your goal, and you can feel a sense of achievement every month!

Put Your Goals in a Jar

Write down your goals that are not time-sensitive and put them in a jar (such as spending more time outside or organizing your home).

Pull out a goal, do it, and then pull out another one.

Check This Out: 7 Reasons Why You Should Ditch New Year’s Resolutions


Practice Mindfulness

This year, you should think about incorporating mindfulness practices into your daily life to help reduce stress and anxiety.

You can try meditation or simply go for a walk and focus your senses on the experience.

Create a Vision Board

Vision boards are a visual tool you can use to illustrate what you want to achieve this year.

Create a board that includes your aspirations and the things you want to achieve.

You can make one using a bulletin board or canvas. Include words, photos, or drawings that represent the future you want.

Place it where you can see it every day for inspiration!

New Year’s Resolutions – You Can Make Them Work!

A New Year’s resolution doesn’t have to be one major goal that you expect yourself to achieve by the end of the year.

As you can see, it can be multiple goals or not even a goal at all!

Are you going to make a resolution this year? Let us know in the comments!

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