Top 7 Reasons Why New Year’s Resolutions Fail

By:    Published: December 29, 2011

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Each year, millions of people make New Year’s resolutions, promising that they will change something about themselves in the coming year. But each year, many of those people find that they fail at achieving their resolutions. So, what gives? Maybe this list of reasons why New Year’s resolutions fail will help shed some light on the subject, so that when making your resolutions this year, you’ll be able stick to them.

1. Unrealistic Goals

This is probably the number one reason resolutions fail. For example, for those who set a goal to lose 100 pounds this year, chances are they will fail unless they do something drastic, expensive or risky. It’s not impossible, but it’s extremely difficult. A more realistic goal might be to try and lose a pound or two a week, or to just eat healthier or exercise a little more. This will eventually add up to the original goal, but it’s a much easier goal to reach, even if it takes a little more than a year.

2. Temptations

People are surrounded by temptations, and they usually aren’t good. So whatever the temptation is to break the resolution, remove the temptations and the chances of success are much better. But this isn’t always as easy to do as one might think. Take for example a resolution to spend less money shopping. Well, people can’t completely quit shopping because people need things, particularly consumable goods like food or clothes. So the better resolution might be to spend less money on frivolous shopping, or to be thriftier.

3. Giving Up Too Soon

Many New Year’s resolutions take some time to achieve, such as losing weight or quitting smoking. While someone can just not smoke, overcoming the urge to smoke can take a considerable amount of time. Losing weight can take months as well. But in the culture of instant gratification that most people live in, they simply don’t have the patience to stick with their resolutions. Instead of focusing on the long term goal of the resolution, it’s much more manageable to break the resolution down into smaller goals.

So, if someone is trying to quit smoking, they might try quitting for one day, or one week. After that week, make that the same goal for the next week, and the next, and so on. After a while, they won’t need to set the goal anymore, because they will eventually be smoke free.

4. Goals That Are Too Vague

In order to be effective, New Year’s resolutions need to be specific. When goals are too vague it’s difficult to follow through with them. Instead, make specific New Year’s resolutions. Instead of saying “I’m going to lose weight in the New Year,” a better choice might be to say “I’m going to eat healthier, exercise more and try to lose 2 pounds per week.” The second goal is much more specific so it’s easier to follow, providing more guidance and allowing the person set weekly goals so that when the first week goes by with success and then the second, the person will be encouraged to continue and find overall success.

5. Ill-Prepared

Often times, New Year’s resolutions take a lot of work. It’s not uncommon for them to require a lot of other resources as well, such as time or money. In the excitement of the coming year, people tend to make New Year’s resolutions that are ill-prepared.  For instance, some people might make a resolution to move into their own home. The problem is that they don’t really understand how much money that can take. In addition to the cost of the home, there is the cost to furnish the home and the cost of the deposits to turn on the utilities. Being ill-prepared to achieve their resolution can set people up for failure. Instead if someone is making a large resolution, they need to research what it’s actually going to take to achieve it. Then they can set milestones in their daily lives to meet their overall goal.

6. Too Many Resolutions

Someone who makes too many resolutions set themselves up for failure. A resolution is a commitment to change something about one’s self. So if someone is making too many resolutions they are basically committing to change too much about themselves, and that’s really impossible to do. Instead, choose one thing at a time and break the resolution down into small goals that are easier to achieve.

7. Who’s In Control

Many times, New Year’s resolutions that people make fail because they don’t take control. This is the case with resolutions like working less or losing weight. People let themselves get caught up in the world around them and in a society in which people are taught to be polite, often at their own expense, it’s no wonder why people can feel like they aren’t in control of their own lives.

In the case of working less, it can be very hard to say no to the boss, especially if one fears that they may suffer some type of retribution later on. But if people take control of their own lives and their own choices, they will ultimately find greater happiness and that’s really the overall goal of any New Year’s resolution.

No matter what the resolution is, if someone researches carefully, sets reasonable goals, and takes control of their lives and choices they can find success, not only in their resolutions but in other parts of their lives as well.

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