Most New Year’s Resolutions Fail – Here’s Why

For some reason the calendar seems to dictate the desire to become a better person. You may feel a surge of excitement at the prospect of overcoming a bad habit or attitude. What is it about New Year's resolutions? Despite good intentions, your efforts soon evaporate like snow flakes in July. Here’s why you don’t follow through.

By definition resolutions are stretch goals. They put you outside your comfort zone and that is why a different part of your brain will object. Here are the deadly resolution killers:

  1. Effort required. It takes persistent and consistent effort for gradual success. There is a part of most of us that is simply lazy.
  2. It is emotionally risky. You are afraid to try, and try again and then fail. So you give it a pee wee effort and give up with the face saving rationalization of, “Well, I could have done it with a little more work.”
  3. Self-esteem. Down deep you really don’t believe you are worthy of this success.
  4. You fear success. Achieving your goal may bring about unintended consequences. Somebody may get jealous. It may lead you to more responsibilities or obligations. It will cost you in some way. There is no free lunch.

Curious about your specific reasons for not following through?

Think of a big goal. Really big. Then pay attention to what you feel. If you’re excited – nice! Hold on to that feeling and see if any tension or anxiety begins to emerge.

Keep reflecting on your goal and pay attention to any thoughts you have. Are all the thoughts positive? Or do you have some pessimistic thoughts emerging?

Very few people think of a really big goal that could be possible without experiencing tension, anxiety or negative thoughts. Identifying your reaction just gave you a heads up on why you will struggle with success.

What is the secret for realizing the big goal without years of therapy?

It is called motivation. Every successful person in any field of endeavor encountered multiple obstacles. The difference is DESIRE. When the desire is strong enough, the creativity of overcoming obstacles inspires further action. Failure is not an option. Obstacles, expected and unexpected, are just part of the game. High self- esteem comes from overcoming roadblocks instead of whining about their existence.

That old saying, “Where there is a will, there is a way” is exceptionally true for resolutions. So, how much “will” do you have this coming year?

If you’d like to make a more public commitment to your resolution, write it in our comments section below. Give it some muscle by anticipating what negative forces might arise and then suggesting how you might overcome them.

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Preeva Tramiel
Preeva Tramiel

I want to communicate the thoughts that trigger my emotions without getting angry first.

Peter Pearson, Ph.D.

Dr. Peter Pearson, Ph.D., Relationship & Teamwork Expert for Entrepreneur Couples Pete has been training and coaching couples to become a strong team since 1984 when he co-founded The Couples Institute with his psychologist wife, Dr. Ellyn Bader. Their popular book, “Tell Me No Lies,” is about being honest with compassion and growing stronger as a couple. Pete has been featured on over 50 radio and television programs including “The Today Show,” "Good Morning America,” and "CBS Early Morning News,” and quoted in major publications including “The New York Times,” “Oprah Magazine,” “Redbook,” “Cosmopolitan,” and “Business Insider.”

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