5 Proven Reasons Why New Year’s Resolutions Fail

by Sheri

This post may contain referral links, which means I may receive a small credit, at no cost to you, if you make a purchase through a link. All opinions remain my own.

Why New Year’s Resolutions Fail And How To Succeed In Goal Setting Throughout The Year

We are almost into the New Year and I am hearing a lot of chatter about the new year bringing with it motivation, inspiration, energy, and all that good stuff.  No wonder why new year’s resolutions fail! Lost?  – I can explain.

From great food at Thanksgiving, presents at Christmas, plus the fireworks that bring us into the New Year – the excitement over the past few months comes to a screeching halt on January 2nd. The holiday bubble bursts and we are tossed back to reality! Ugh. The work we push aside will sit there waiting for us.

Inspirational New Year's Resolution Quote


I have also heard about everyone’s “word of the year”. The one word they’ve chosen that is destined to make 2019 the best and most productive year ever!

Many articles circulating with New Year’s resolution ideas. On weight loss, productivity, relationships, travel, friendships, family. You name it, I’ve read it.

Do you know what I realized? All the advice about those new year resolutions will set you up to fail! Yup. Every single one of them. Here’s why.


Don’t Jump On The Bandwagon Too Quickly

The articles gave great suggestions, however, the way they suggested approaching goals and resolutions was completely off. They all had the same mantra.  

Achieve success by starting anew. The “fresh start effect.”

“Without goals, you are like a ship that has set sail with no destination.” — Fitzhugh DodsonClick To Tweet


Just because we have a new calendar year, do we honestly need to start everything over?

I understand letting go of the things you no longer like or want in your life. Yes, let all those things go. What about the things in your life you want to keep?

The things you can build on that you love, in order to refine what you are already doing. 

You want to move forwards not back right?

That’s why I say don’t start over. Build and grow instead. Let’s at this in smaller, clearer points.


 Here Are The 5 Reasons Why New Year’s Resolutions Fail

5 Proven Reasons Why New Year’s Resolutions Fail abbl books

1. You Are Lacking Motivation Or Commitment

Most resolutions made do not make it past January. The ones that make it into February are usually forgotten by March.

Why? Lack of commitment. It is easy to be motivated. Maintaining motivation requires commitment. Without it, your initial motivation and energy to get your resolution going will dwindle very quickly.

Do you know anyone who has made the same resolutions each year but never manages to stick to them? Have you done the same?

Don’t feel bad, you may have the right intentions, you just need a little help in committing.

I will explain this further on in this post.


2. You Are A Master Of Procrastination

Every day presents a new opportunity for us to change. You have had an entire year to make as many changes in your life that you can handle. Many of us are easily deterred, push opportunities away, then make excuses as to why it is not the right time.

I guess January 1st just seems to be the perfect day to start over right? Wrong.

Have you ever told yourself that you just “didn’t have the time” to do one thing or another? What I have learned is, saying you don’t have the time means that it is not a priority. 


Let’s Look At Two Examples

You come home from work, walk into the kitchen and make yourself a sandwich. Finish eating and toss the plate into the sink which is piled up with all the other ones from yesterday.

You know you need to do the dishes but Scandal is starting in 20 minutes on TV and it is the season finale!

It will take you 10 minutes to do the dishes but you tell yourself “you don’t have the time”.

So you ignore the dishes, check your Facebook notifications, upload a picture to Instagram, tweet about Scandal and the 20 minutes are up.


5 Proven Reasons Why New Year's Resolutions Fail

OK, rewind a little bit and try the same scenario differently….

You toss the sandwich in the kitchen sink, and right there on the kitchen counter, a genie appears out of nowhere. Offers you 10,000 Euros/dollars in CASH if you agree to do the dishes before watching TV.

HA! I see you rolling up your sleeves, turning the tap on. What? Are those two plates and dish-washing liquid in your hands? You see how that quickly became a priority and you suddenly do have the time?

The same works for when you want to plan your goals. Only set goals you are really interested in meeting.

Prioritize your time and tackle the things you can reasonably achieve in the time-frame you have set for yourself. Be it a month, a season, or a year.


'when you fail to plan, you plan to fail'Click To Tweet


3. You Have The Oliver Twist Syndrome

5 Proven Reasons Why New Year's Resolutions Fail, goals, productivity, change, self-help and new start, ideas

New Year’s resolutions fail because people are constantly wanting more. It is our nature. Creating a ton of goals will get you nowhere.

Setting goals means you are trying to achieve something you do not already have. Aspiring for something in the future. If you don’t plan the right way your new year’s resolution won’t work, which in turn can affect your self-confidence and self-esteem.  

Don’t end up beating yourself up and feeling bad for not achieving your goals. 

They key here is the focus.

Say you have TEN goals you want to achieve by December 31st, but you know realistically, you can only achieve five if you are lucky. Which five do you keep and which do you let go? Think about it, then cut those goals down to three.

Good. Look at your list of three goals. What timeline will you set for them?


How To Make Resolutions You Will Actually Stick To


Setting Those Timelines

It is human nature to want more as soon as you have received or achieved something you want. Divide the timeline of reaching your goals over shorter periods of time.

Break your main goal into sub-goals. When you create a timeline, you take your goal from something that will happen in the future and move it into the present.

A timeline subconsciously creates a commitment to meet your goal; reward yourself for each success.

I have something special to get you started. 

A goal setting guide that includes a goal planner, daily agenda (three different formats), and a weekly planner PLUS some excellent information on how to set and keep your goals.

Get it at the end of this post!

5 Proven Reasons Why New Year’s Resolutions Fail abbl goals

4. Resolution Adoption

One of the biggest reasons why new year’s resolutions fail is that the resolutions are based on the expectations of others. If you are making resolutions based on what others think you should be doing, you are setting yourself up for failure.

What have your family and friends been whispering into your ear? Quit smoking?

Start exercising? Stop drinking wine? Cut sugar out of your diet? All great ideas and suggestions. They love you and want you to live the best life possible, they mean well – I get it.  

Don’t set goals for yourself by looking at other people’s expectations or by reading a magazine that tells you how to ‘get fit”, “get thin”, or do anything else. This is precisely why New year’s resolutions fail.

The more you are aware of and understand the reasons why you are doing something, the higher success rate you will have at accomplishing your goal.

Reason why new year’s resolutions fail at such a high rate? They are not coming from your heart.


'To succeed in your mission, you must have single-minded devotion to your goal.'Click To Tweet


5. You Don’t Believe In Yourself

5 Proven Reasons Why New Year's Resolutions Fail, goals and productivity, can change the way you do things

If you’ve tried (and failed) to set a New Year’s resolution (or several) in the past, it might be because it’s hard to always believe in yourself. Doubt is a nagging voice in your head that resists personal growth.

Get rid of that voice by replacing negative thoughts with positive ones. Defeat doubt and begin believing in yourself. Really trust that you can do it.

“You can, you should, and if you’re brave enough to start, you will.” – Stephen KingClick To Tweet


Use These Tips To Make Your New Year’s Resolutions Work

  • Write down your goals
  • Break a large goal into smaller achievable parts
  • Track your progress daily
  • Make it public
  • Create routines that support your goals
  • Tell friends and family about it
  • Be accountable

Make the commitment and success will be yours. 

Have you made New Year’s resolutions and ended up not sticking to them? Thought about why New Year’s resolutions fail year after year? Were you able to identify the reasons you were unable to meet your goals?

Share your experiences with me in the comments section below.

Oh – and if you haven’t already, don’t forget to grab your free Goal Setting Guide now!


Purposeful Habits xoxo Sheri



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Gain Success When You Stop Learning And Start Doing March 15, 2017 - 14:32

[…] It is more productive to focus on one thing at a time and get it done. You will achieve your goals in a more focused and effective way. […]

husna favaz February 1, 2017 - 09:15

Great post! I have stopped making New year resolutions since high school! Instead I set small goals for myself and that is much easier for me!

ruxandra January 31, 2017 - 15:24

I am definitely a procrastinator and that slows me down a lot ๐Ÿ™

angie the freckled rose January 31, 2017 - 01:00

The older I get, the more I have learned and really realized this. I try to make small goals, that way I stay motivated and can reach them easily instead of making one giant goal. Great read, all very true ๐Ÿ™‚

alisonrost January 30, 2017 - 03:46

Such a great post. I stopped setting New Year’s Resolutions a few years ago. I found when I failed .. it made me feel awful. Now I simply try to be a little better every day at whatever it is that I’m focusing on

Fatima January 29, 2017 - 08:43

Lacking motivation is one of the major issues that prevail here. I’m hoping to get my driving license this year but I’m lacking motivation ๐Ÿ™

Amrita Basu January 26, 2017 - 02:09

Welcome back to writing Sheri.Missed your posts.A very interesting way of explaining why resolutions fail.Fortunately I never give up.Tey try and try till I get it done.

Eva January 24, 2017 - 23:45

I usually don’t set traditional resolutions, and instead try to create substitution. For example, this year I really wanted to push myself to me more productive with my blog and business, so my compound resolution was “Watch less Netflix and YouTube, and instead delegate that time to fulfilling orders, marketing, writing new posts, etc.” That way it really helps me stay on task and I don’t feel as if there’s a gap in my life somewhere!


Sheri @ A Busy Bees Life January 25, 2017 - 02:08

Hi Eva! Yes! That is a great approach. Letting go of things that may be getting in the way or distracting you from accomplishing the goals and tasks you have set for yourself. Wishing you a successful 2017. Sheri

noonetocompare January 24, 2017 - 11:51

I always equate resolutions to mean temporary. I believe in Mindset Shifts that allow you to make minor changes that translate to actionable change in the long term. I also believe that one must believe in themselves and all that they are! Thanks for sharing, very insightful.

Rashida Thompson (@shidaspeakslife) January 24, 2017 - 10:18

I’m really great at setting goals, but where I can improve is breaking them down into smaller goals like you mentioned. I tend to get overwhelmed by the big picture of what I want, but taking each piece at a time is more manageable.

Sheri @ A Busy Bees Life January 25, 2017 - 02:19

Rashida I agree 100%. I used to always set all these goals then became overwhelmed because I was unsure of where to begin. I would start one, give up, then move to the next one. Drop it, start another. A never ending cycle of disappointment in myself until I finally started analyzing why this was happening and figured out what I could do to fix it. Hope you downloaded the freebie, it will help. Xoxo Sheri

Patricia @ Grab a Plate January 24, 2017 - 09:06

So true, so true! I had never heard of the “Oliver Twist Syndrome,” but ha! Yes!! I think this is the first year in a long time that I didn’t make a resolution. Ugh! I’m working on what I need to work on, though!

vanessa January 23, 2017 - 19:43

I don’t do resolutions. I set goals throughout the year and focus on those.

Sheri @ A Busy Bees Life January 24, 2017 - 08:28

HI Vanessa, that is a good approach, you can go from one year into the next and setting and meeting your goals without having to wait for a set date i.r. Jan 1st.

imagineyourart January 23, 2017 - 16:54

I’ve never been into the whole “new year’s resolution”, because I love learning something new each day and always trying to achieve and do the best at everything in life. But, I do like the idea of breaking your main goals into sub goals because there’s always that one thing you feel like you may never be able to accomplish. If you break it up into smaller resolutions, it can be done none the less.

Tescha Chetty January 23, 2017 - 14:31

Ive written my goals for 2017 and methods to achieve it. Now to stay on top of things and not to procrastinate…I am getting there for sure:)

themoogie January 23, 2017 - 11:54

I’ve never been a New Years Resolution person, but this year I decided to give it a try. I love your tip about breaking a big goal into smaller, achievable ones. It’s kind of like the emotional effect of success in the smaller goals will push you towards the bigger ones.

Nichole Freeman January 23, 2017 - 11:20

This is true and comical at the same time . Thanks for sharing.

imagineyourart January 23, 2017 - 11:07

Great tips and tricks! Thank you for this

Tasheena @ SimplyTasheena.com January 23, 2017 - 11:06

I typically do not create New Years resolutions. However, I do believe in creating goals. If you’re not committed to whatever you set out to do. I’ve found that most likely you’ll procrastinate with completing it.

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