Most New Year’s Resolutions Fail (So Do This Instead)

A lot of magic surrounds New Year’s Eve. We think anything is possible in the new year. We promise to be better and do better, as well as achieve all of our dreams in the form of resolutions. A big reason behind that is because many people reflect once a year and that happens to be around New Year’s Eve.

While there’s nothing wrong with being excited about turning the calendar over to a new year and achieving your dreams, more than 90 percent of people fail on their resolutions. Just as telling, only about 20 percent of people stick with their resolutions longer than six weeks into a new year.

Why don’t resolutions work and what can goal-seekers do instead? We’ve got you covered for the new year.


Why resolutions fail

Here are just some of the reasons resolutions fail:

  • People tend to create resolutions when they’re motivated and reflecting. Unfortunately, the motivation dies off too early into the year, and we’re stuck with unachievable goals that don’t sound that appealing.
  • You no longer want to open that dance studio. Getting out of debt still sounds ideal, but you would rather go out with your friends on the weekend than save your money. We get lazy or unmotivated to achieve a resolution.
  • Maybe you stick with it, but still, don’t achieve your resolutions because your plan of attack is terrible, your resolutions aren’t realistic, you have no deadline, or you don’t have a plan at all. You just have a mindset of wanting to achieve more.
  • Life happens and many people stop going to the gym, so they come up short on their weight goals and don’t get into better shape.
  • People also want things to happen instantly, so when a resolution isn’t happening fast enough, a person will give up because the results don’t justify the effort put in.


Do this instead

Create SMART goals, not resolutions.

  • Specific: What do you want to accomplish? Why? Make this goal as specific as possible. Instead of wanting to get in better shape, make a goal of losing 10 pounds.
  • Measurable: Is your goal measurable? Can you use metrics to track the progress? If you have a monetary goal, then use dollars. If you have a goal of getting in shape, then use pounds or inches. Attach metrics to your goal so you can monitor results.
  • Achievable: A big reason why people fail on their goals and resolutions is that their goals aren’t achievable. Make a goal that you can actually achieve yet one that’s still challenging. An unachievable goal will only discourage you.
  • Relevant: Does your goal make sense to you? Is it relevant to your life, your business, or your wants and needs? If a goal isn’t going to benefit your life, then it’s not relevant to you. For example, it might not be relevant for a personal injury attorney to have a goal that’s centered around building an ice cream business (unless it is).
  • Time-bound: You have to attach a deadline to your goal. Without a deadline, you won’t make progress because you will continue to push your goal off for a “more convenient time.” Having a deadline will keep your goal front and center. A goal without a deadline might as well be a dream.

After you’ve created your SMART goal, you need to create a plan and add the steps to your schedule so you’re always focused on your goal as opposed to only thinking about it once a year (when New Year’s Eve is around the corner yet again). Make your goal part of your life by scheduling in the necessary time to achieve it. Without taking action, a good plan and intentions won’t amount to much.

New Year’s resolutions don’t work. However, creating SMART goals (and implementing your plan by taking action) can lead to you achieving success.

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