80% of New Year’s Resolutions Fail. Here’s What to Do About It

New Year’s resolutions are one of the biggest obsession of today’s world.

We’re usually against ideas that are so commercial, and try to stay out of what everyone else seems to be doing. But somehow – often unconsciously – we fall into the trap of deciding to change every December, and then giving up in January.

That’s the case most of the times. And it leads to regrets, disappointments, going back to old habits, and often indulging in bad behaviors even more.

And in order to fix that, we should first understand why new year’s resolutions fail so bad.

A popular research shared by USNews found that only 20% of New Year’s Resolutions succeed.

Here are the main reasons:

Why Do New Year’s Resolutions Fail?

1. We set many goals.

Our mind is programmed to focus on one thing at a time, and 1-3 big things in general at any phase in our life.

And when we try to make changes in 3 different areas, or to go after 5 goals at once, or to replace 2 bad habits with good ones, we fail.

The solution is simple. Choose one thing and do it right this time.

2. We crave big transformations.

Not only do we want to change many things at once, but we also make them big. Which makes it even more impossible to achieve without getting overwhelmed and stressed.

Another key ingredient to successfully changing our behavior – besides doing one thing at a time – is starting small.

So concentrate on one resolution this year, and break it down into achievable and easy steps. Then start with the first one.

3. We don’t prepare.

Most people don’t think about big changes until December comes, and then it’s too late to plan things carefully so they just rush into it and decide to do or not to do something from January on.

But that’s a wrong approach to new year’s resolutions, and it’s another reason why they fail.

Planning and preparation, however, don’t need to take a lot of time and energy. But if done properly, can save you a lot of worries and disappointments in the future.

So take a pen and paper and write down the one thing you want to change the most in your life. Think of all you need to do to get there. Set a deadline if you want to for each of the steps.

Plan out the changes you need to make in your daily life so that it can fit perfectly there. Set a time each day for taking this step. Think of what reminders you can use so that you don’t forget it.

Read also: How Michelle Went from $38K in Debt to Building a Million Dollar Blog

4. We want fast results.

Not only do we want many and big transformations, but we want that to happen fast.

Those who plan on getting fit want to have lost weight by the end of January. Others want to be out of debt by that time.

But it doesn’t work like that. Resolutions need time to become a reality, and to be a permanent part of your new lifestyle, not just a temporary phase.

So give it time. Be patient. Have the end goal in mind and visualize success, but don’t be in a hurry.

5. We don’t want it bad enough.

Most people don’t really want to make the changes they think about in December.

A good self-analysis of your dreams and goals is needed at this point, so that you don’t end up chasing something that won’t make you happy even if you reach it soon.

Be honest with yourself. Define your ideal life and see how it differs from your current one. Then take a firm decision to change one aspect first, and eliminate distractions.

Be sure you truly want it before you do anything, though.

6. Our motivation is short-term.

As a result of everything else listed above, we don’t have the right type of motivation. And to make a big change like a new year’s resolution, we should stay consistent and motivated for months.

To do that, always be reminded of your why. Assuming you’ve found a solution to reason #5 and are after something you actually desire, then keep the end result in mind all the time.

Once you get back to your normal daily life in January, you may quickly forget about the transformation you promised you’ll make in the new year. And will easily get back to your old habits.

But the desire to change won’t go away. As once you had it, it means you’re not satisfied with a certain aspect of your life. And until you do something about it, you won’t feel happy and at ease.

So make sure you stay motivated no matter what. Taking small steps daily towards you goal will help you see progress soon, and that’s one way to be inspired to keep going.

So that’s why we haven’t mastered keeping resolutions and usually fail. But this year might be different. It’s all up to you.

What can we do to set better goals, be more mindful, invest enough time and effort in it but not get overwhelmed at the same time, and be disciplined and consistent?

Here are the action steps:

How to Succeed with Your New Year’s Resolutions

Keep things simple.

Forget about bucket lists, forget about huge goals, forget about quick results, and fixing all areas of your life at once.

All that leads to 0% progress. Instead, you want to be of the 20% of people who succeed with their new year’s resolutions.

Wrong expectations.

While I’m often again expectations in general as they have only made my personal growth journey harder over the years, you can have them sometimes. But they should be the right ones. And having the wrong type of expectations will lead to failure.


The next thing you can do to see success with your resolutions in the new year is mindfulness.

What I mean is, we rush into things, we never slow down to enjoy the little wins. We want more, we don’t set the right intention or have a purpose, we don’t practice acceptance and gratitude. All these make our path much more difficult. And they can all go away if we’re mindful enough.

Another way to practice mindfulness is to journal your thoughts. If you need some writing ideas, here’s a list of daily January journal prompts, and 100 journal prompts for the new year.

Get specific.

If your goal isn’t clearly defined, then you won’t achieve what you really want in the new year.

Trust yourself more.

Self-care is part of self-improvement. But often, people start being harsh to themselves, they expect more than they can do in a short period of time, then they feel bad about not achieving exactly what they intended to.

You need to relax, to give yourself some credit, enjoy the process and smile for the little achievements.

If you don’t do that, all this would be another thing you do in life filled with pressure and unpleasant emotions. So you’d just want to get it done. But that’s not the mindset you should have to succeed with your new year’s resolutions.

Building self-trust won’t happen in a day, but there’s a peaceful and easy way to get closer to that state. It’s by being kind to yourself.

Be passionate about the change you’re making.

One of the reasons why you’re part of the 80% that fail with new year’s resolutions is that you aren’t passionate about what you’re going after. But without passion, why do it in the first place?

Not only should businesses be built on passion and relationships started because of that, but the same goes for any goal you set. Especially a big one like a New Year’s resolution.

The aspect of life it’s related to must be something you deeply care about. Only this way can you be strong enough and consistent to keep doing it till you see results coming.

Another thing you can do to make sure your efforts are effective is to have a reason to do what you’re about to do.

I believe these 6 things are enough to help you try a new way to do new year’s resolutions and make the new year better.

There are other reasons why 80% of people fail with that, and there are more actions to be taken to get in the right direction. But all that was included in this list somehow covers it all.

Don’t end 2019 the ordinary way. Do some brainstorming to find something you really want to dedicate time to in January. Make a plan. Keep it simple when setting it as a goal. Prepare. Then be ready to have fun while you’re achieving it.

That’s how you do New Year’s resolutions right.