Why Resolutions Fail

Don't fail at your New Year's resolutions

It’s that time of year again!  45% of Americans are going to make a New Year’s resolution.  46% will keep those resolutions for 6 months.  8% will keep them for the whole year.  We’ve all done this, I think.  But, why is it so hard to complete those pesky New Year’s Resolutions?  Take a look at these 5 reasons why you could fail to complete those New Year’s resolutions:


It’s the start of a new year, which means that you feel like you should make a list of resolutions for the year.  Another year has gone by and there are things that would be nice to have, to do, and to be.  Those things don’t exist for you today so it makes you feel bad.  Something has to be done in order to stop feeling bad.  Creating resolutions feels like doing something, so that’s what you do.  And it works!  Suddenly, it does not feel so bad to not have those things because there is some semblance of a plan.

I get it; no one wants to feel bad.  But, here is the problem:  you, like most people, won’t follow through on your resolutions BECAUSE you feel better.  The act of creating resolutions fixes the problem of feeling bad.  Now, there is no drive to do anything else.  Why would there be?  Pain is what causes you to act in the first place.  Because the pain is gone, the motivation is gone.  When you stop letting pain push you, and nothing else is introduced to take its place, you won’t do anything.


You make resolutions at the beginning of the year and then simply hope for the best.  After making it through the whole year and into the next, you check in to see if anything can be crossed off the list.  When things happen this way, nothing gets crossed off the list.  Why?  Unfortunately, out of sight, out of mind.  It is not possible to complete resolutions if they are not constantly being thought about. 

Said simply, if resolutions are not an everyday part of life, they don’t get done.  If they are not being thought about, they are not being worked on. In order to actively work towards a resolution (or goal), it has to be thought about.


Once resolutions are identified, what do you do?  That’s right, nothing.  Most resolutions look something like this:  ‘I want to lose weight.’  And that is it.  Let’s not even consider the obvious here (that ‘lose weight’ is not specific).  There is no plan on how to lose the weight!  You just assume that it will fall off or everything will work itself out.  THIS IS NOT A PLAN.

Things that you should be doing

  • Create a list of steps that you need to take in order to accomplish your resolutions.
  • Estimate how long each step will take.
  • Research and define what needs to be completed in order to take and complete each step.
  • Monitor and track the results.

Talk about a recipe for disaster!

But, maybe there has been a plan in the past; you just did not follow it.  Why?  Roadblocks.  Challenges.  Confusion.  Any number of difficulties that come up and stop you cold in your tracks.  This happens only because you don’t plan for these roadblocks, such as:

  • People in your life who have a negative attitude towards resolutions.
  • It turns out that it is going to take more hours to complete a task.
  • You become bored, or sick, or confused.
  • A task can’t be completed for some reason or another.

So you simply stop.  Hell, you can just create a resolution again next year, right?


You:  I want to lose weight.

Me:   Is that so?  Why?

You:  I don’t know.  I should probably just lose weight.

Yeah, that will keep you motivated to lose weight this year.  If you don’t have a reason, a POWERFUL REASON, why you want to lose weight (or achieve any resolution), it will not be achieved.  End of story. 

When you wake up in the morning and you are tired, your WHY will drag your ass out of bed.  When you look at the menu and have a hankering for a burger, your WHY will get you to order the salad.  WHY do you want to lose weight?  WHY do you want to find love?  WHY do you want to quit smoking?  If your answer doesn’t make you want to do something RIGHT NOW, then you need to find a better WHY.


It seems like everyone wants to go at it alone.  You try to do everything yourself out of fear of what others might say:

  • If you fail
  • If you need someone’s help
  • Or if someone doesn’t like the resolutions

You may not want to hear this but, no one does everything on their own, not even you.  We are social creatures.  We have evolved that way and, rather than use it, most people fight it.  Have you ever thought that, if you had help at something, then that would mean you couldn’t do it yourself?  I bet you have.  When you focus on phrases like this, you will try to be secretive about what you are doing.  When you will refuse to let others help altogether, you miss out on the knowledge that others have.  Chances are that there are others who have already done what you are trying to do.  You can learn from them.

We all want to create our own future but I have news for you, there is nothing that you REALLY do on your own.  You can’t make a lot of money without customers.  You cannot run a successful multinational corporation without employees.  You can’t become the best fighter or ball player without coaches, training partners, or opponents.  


Making and keeping resolutions is hard.  Statistics show us this but I bet you have seen it in your own life.  With the right strategies, however, you can be on your way to successfully completing all of them.  Check out Part II of this post to find some more strategies.  Tell us what you think about the five above!

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