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5 Reasons Why New Year's Resolutions Fail

5 Reasons Why New Year's Resolutions Fail

Whether you promised yourself this would be the year you get in shape, or you vowed to eat healthier, setting out to make a change on January 1st may leave you sadly disappointed. 

You might be thinking that with the right motivation, you can finally take control and crush your goals when the new year rolls around.

Most resolutions, however, will fail. A study from Scranton University shows that only 19 percent of people keep their resolutions. 

So, why do new year’s resolutions fail? 

A lack of willpower? After all, you can't pass up junk food, hit the gym, or save money if you're running low on willpower, right?

Well, there are several reasons why new year’s resolutions fail. A major reason is that you probably shouldn’t have started on January 1st, but in this post, we’ll dive into five reasons why it’s so tough to keep your resolutions. 

5 Reasons Why New Year’s Resolutions Fail 

1. You Haven’t Found Your Why

So many of us search for a magic mental trick when we start a new year’s resolution, which will shift our way of thinking and keep us motivated. 

Well, there’s only one motivation hack that works. It’s a question.

Why do you want this?

If you don’t have a strong why then success will not happen. 

If you want to lose 10 pounds, that’s great, but that’s only a goal. You haven’t identified the purpose that’s holding you accountable for the weight loss. 

The biggest reason people fall off track is that they lose sight of why they started their new year’s resolution in the first place. 

Here’s a great exercise to try. Break out a journal and do a “5 Whys Analysis.” 

This exercise will help you find the root cause of starting your new year’s resolution. Let’s say you resolve to start jumping rope. Here’s an example: 

  • Why do I want to start jumping rope?
    • I want to lose 10 pounds.
  • Why do I want to lose 10 pounds?
    • I want to look better in my clothes.
  • Why do I want to look better in my clothes?
    • I want to look good in pictures at my daughter's wedding in a few months.
  • Why do I want to look good in my daughter’s wedding photos?
    • I want to look back and only think about the great memories and not how I look.
  • Why do I only want to think about the memories and not how I look?
    • I want to fully experience the significant moments of my life without worrying about my appearance.

There you have it. 

Keep asking yourself why until you get to what’s actually driving you to make a change. 

2. You Started On January 1st

When you set out to make a significant lifestyle change on January 1st, you’re basing that change on a calendar date and not because you’re ready to do so. 

What are the chances that you're going to be ready for action at precisely the same time the calendar rolls over to a new year? They are probably pretty slim.

According to the transtheoretical model of change, there are five primary stages you'll pass through before creating a change in your life. 

  1. Precontemplation. You don’t think you need to change, nor do you plan to make a change. You’re not thinking about the pros of change, but rather, you’re focusing on the cons of change.
  2. Contemplation. You start to think of the pros and cons of change more intently.
  3. Preparation. You take steps to get ready to make a change.
  4. Action. You change your behavior.
  5. Maintenance. You figure out how to maintain long-term changes. 

Newer representations of the model include a sixth stage—relapse. This addition reflects the fact that setbacks are part of the process, and the way you handle your missteps plays a big role in your ability to stick to new habits.

For many, failed resolutions happen because there's a good chance those individuals created a new year’s resolution from pressure to do so, not because they were ready to build new habits.

Individuals with failed resolutions may be in the contemplative stage (their change is something they've tossed around for a while but aren't committed to doing the work).

Or they may have been in the middle of the preparation stage (they've thought about some of the steps they'll need to take to equip themselves for the change but haven't taken the time to set themselves up for success) when they jumped into action.

Realistically, when January 1st hits, most people are hovering in the contemplation and preparation stages. Big things don’t need to happen immediately at the start of a new year. Take the time you need to plan out the changes you want to make. You can start in February, March, or any day of the year. 

3. You’re Treating A Marathon Like A Sprint

Slow and steady habit change isn’t exactly the most appealing approach, but it’s the type of mentality you need to make your resolutions stick.

When we start a new year’s resolution, excitement usually takes over, and we want to see big results immediately. 

Small changes stick better because they aren’t intimidating (if you do it right, you’ll barely even notice them!).

Want to lose weight? Stop the crash diets and excessive exercise plans. If you have a lot of unhealthy habits today, the last thing you need to do is remodel your entire life overnight.

Add one positive habit per week instead of following a super restrictive plan that bans anything fun. For example, you could start with something easy like drinking more water during your first week.

The following week, you could move on to eating three fruits and veggies every day. And the next week, you could aim to eat a fistful of protein at every meal. Doing this can help you keep your weight loss motivation and avoid resolution burn out.

4. You Don’t Enjoy The Process

Is it any wonder people struggle with their new year’s resolutions when they see the process as a chore? 

The best resolution plan is one that causes a very minor interruption to your daily life. The goal isn’t to add stress to your life but rather to remove it.

The best of us couldn’t bring ourselves to do something we hate consistently, so make your resolution fun.

If getting into shape is your goal, you can make things fun by participating in a sport you love or exercising with a good friend or two. You could join a group exercise class so you can meet new people. Don’t forget to give yourself one free day per week where you forget about your training plan and exercise in any way that makes your heart happy.

5. You Don’t Have A Support System

It can be hard to stay motivated when you feel alone. The good news? You’re not alone: far from it.

Don’t feel like you need to take on any big lifestyle changes on your own. 

If you’re struggling to stay consistent with your new habits, ask a close friend or family member to help keep you on track. 

Or you can join our Facebook Community. We’ve got 97K wonderful and supportive people looking out and helping one another reach their goals.

Breaking & Building New Habits Is Not A One Day Errand

Whether we talk about getting out of debt or exercising daily, or controlling weight—none of these are tasks that can be achieved in one day. You need consistency if you want these goals to be achievable! Something that cannot be defined by date.

Have any new year’s resolution tips? Leave them in the comments below. Good luck with all your 2022 goals, and don’t forget—it’s okay to start in February.

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