Ever won­der why the res­o­lu­tions you make in Jan­u­ary don’t stick around after March? You aren’t alone! Stud­ies show that only 8% of peo­ple keep their New Year’s res­o­lu­tions. Why? And how do peo­ple achieve their goals set at New Year’s? We’ve bro­ken it down for you so you can iden­ti­fy your goal-break­er as well as give you some tips on how to make those res­o­lu­tions stick.

There are three main rea­sons that New Year’s res­o­lu­tions fail. The first goal-break­er is tak­ing on too much (too big of a goal) and expect­ing it to hap­pen too fast. Researchers have found that it takes 66 days to break a habit. That’s much high­er than the pre­vi­ous­ly pub­lished 21 days. It con­verse­ly means that it also takes 66 days to form a new habit. So, bat­tle your goal-break­er by set­ting small­er, achiev­able goals to focus your ener­gies on rather than spread­ing your­self too thin on lofty goals.

The sec­ond rea­son you fail to keep your res­o­lu­tion is you don’t have any­one sup­port­ing you. This could be because you sim­ply didn’t tell any­one that you have new life goals. It could also be due to fear of account­abil­i­ty. You need some life-cheer­lead­ers that root you on to vic­to­ry. These cheer­lead­ers also call you out when you are rid­ing off the tracks. Their sup­port isn’t tied to your achieve­ment of your goals but instead their sup­port is firm­ly tied to you and they want to see you succeed.

The last goal-break­er set­ting a goal that is too vague.  You can’t get to your des­ti­na­tion if you don’t know where you are going.   A goal like “I want to try hard­er at work” or “I want to save more mon­ey this year” is too gen­er­al a notion that does not give you some­thing spe­cif­ic to work towards or a well-defined path to fol­low.  And if you can’t pro­vide spe­cif­ic bench­marks, you can’t mea­sure your progress.

Now, let’s steer this ship back on course with some tips on KEEPING your New Year’s resolutions.

Plan Ahead

To ensure suc­cess, plan ahead so you can have the resources avail­able when you need them.  Then, you won’t have excus­es for why you can’t fol­low through.  Here are a few things you can do to prepare:

  • Read up on it – Get books on the sub­ject. Whether it’s tak­ing up run­ning or becom­ing a veg­e­tar­i­an, there are books to help you pre­pare for it.
  • Plan for suc­cess – Get every­thing you need so things will go smooth­ly. If you are tak­ing up run­ning, make sure you have the clothes, shoes, and playlists so that you are ready to get started.
Reward Yourself Along the Way

Small rewards are great encour­age­ment to keep you going dur­ing the hard­est first days.  After that, you can try to reward your­self once a week with a lunch with a friend, a nap, or what­ev­er makes you tick.  Lat­er, you can change the rewards to month­ly and even pick an anniver­sary reward!

Write Your Goals Down on Paper

Writ­ing estab­lish­es inten­tion but action needs to be tak­en to achieve your res­o­lu­tion.  Have a writ­ten account of your goals is a con­stant reminder to take action.  Mark Mur­phy says Writ­ing things down doesn’t just help you remem­ber, it makes your mind more effi­cient by help­ing you focus on the tru­ly impor­tant stuff. And your goals absolute­ly should qual­i­fy as tru­ly impor­tant stuff.” 

Start When You’re Ready

When you launch your res­o­lu­tion on Jan­u­ary 1st, you are mak­ing a change based on a cal­en­dar date.  What are the chances that you’re going to be ready for a life change at exact­ly the same time the cal­en­dar rolls over to a new year?  There’s no need to launch your res­o­lu­tion on Jan­u­ary 1st or even in Jan­u­ary.  Start work­ing on your goal when you’re ready.  That’s not to say that you need to wait until you feel ful­ly con­fi­dent before start­ing (that may nev­er hap­pen).  Delay­ing your goal a few weeks or a few months is bet­ter than aban­don­ing it altogether.

Identify Your Purpose

Know­ing your “WHAT” (goal) is impor­tant but know­ing your “WHY” can be just as impor­tant when it comes to fol­low­ing through on your inten­tions. Why do you want to lose weight in 2022? When you put the why to the what, you are tru­ly focused on what mat­ters. “I want to lose weight so that I can play with my chil­dren with­out get­ting tired and show them that hard work is worth it.”  Now, THAT’S a great goal.

Iden­ti­fy­ing goal-break­ers and goal-mak­ers are equal­ly impor­tant pieces to achiev­ing what you set out to accom­plish, espe­cial­ly with regards to New Year’s res­o­lu­tions. Com­mit to mak­ing this year the year that your res­o­lu­tion is going to stick!