Why New Year’s Resolutions Don’t Work & 7 Ways to Make Yours Stick

There are some studies that say only 20% of people keep their resolutions after February.

Others say 46% of people keep New Year’s resolutions for 6 months, and only 8% of those people keep them all year long. However, those 8% are 10 times more likely to keep them forever.

Suffice it to say: the concept of New Year’s resolutions don’t really work. But we’re going to talk about how to fix that.

Why New Year’s Resolutions Don’t Work

Before we get to the good stuff (how to make your resolutions stick this year), let’s talk about why they haven’t been working for you in the past. Why is it so easy to quit on your resolution?

  • Resolutions turn into goals, which are too big and broad.
  • You’re trying to change a habit, but many people go about it in the wrong way.
  • Your resolutions are about what you think you should do and not what you want to do. They’re random, not tied to your actual goals in life, and potentially what other people think you should do.

7 Ways to Get Your New Year’s Resolution to Stick

1. Choose what you want.

Start by thinking about what you really want and determine one small step this year that will get you there.

You may have a big goal like making your side hustle your full time business. Or maybe you want to instill some awesome healthy habits.

Start with those big goals and then break it down into what you can accomplish this year.

2. Get specific.

Think process, not goals. Choose a small, specific habit.

You want to write more? Decide the days you will write and how much you will write. Get super specific with the days or amount that you want to write so that you have something to stick to.

Want to lose weight? Make it specific by saying you want to lose 10 lbs. Even better? Give yourself the specific resolution to walk an extra mile every day.

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3. Make it easy for yourself.

Choose something that, with some work, you can achieve. I’m not talking so easy that you can accomplish your goal this week, but it’s important that you choose a resolution that is reasonable and can be accomplished within the year. So “become a billionaire this year,” for instance, is not a great resolution…unless you’re already a millionaire.

It’s helpful to attach a new habit to an existing one for it to stick. Since a resolution is really about creating a new, healthy habit, it’s best to attach your habit to something you’re already doing. For instance, attach your workout every day to a habit like making your coffee in the morning.

Finally, prepare so you’re ready when you stumble or slip up. How will you set yourself up for success if and when you start to struggle? Plan ahead so you can be ready when that day/those days come.

4. Make it measurable.

This is why it’s so important to make your resolution specific. Without specificity, you can’t accurately see whether you’re accomplishing your goal or not.That’s why “grow my business” isn’t as good of a resolution as “grow my business by 150% from 2020.”

You’ll also be able to gauge your progress throughout the year by using specific measurements. (At least) each quarter, check in to see how you’re doing.

5. Consider a reward system.

Many of us need incentives to keep up the momentum to accomplish a task or a goal. Why not build in a reward system?

Do you have a group to check in with or an accountability partner? This can work wonders for things like fitness or health goals. Find a partner or a group with similar goals and work toward them together!

How can you reward yourself with something you really want? Whether you create rewards with milestones throughout the year or a single reward when you accomplish your resolution (like that Europe trip you’ve always wanted to take), consider giving yourself a big incentive to motivate you no matter what.

6. Commit 100%.

If you’re only 99% there, you’ll make an excuse and back out. Don’t give yourself an out.

Commit 100% so there is no question of whether or not you can take a break or back out. Your resolution is a non-negotiable.

7. Missing a day or forgetting isn’t failing.

It’s likely you will miss a day or forget about your resolution, depending on what it is. If you want to quit smoking, it’s highly probable that you might slip and have a cigarette.

But that doesn’t mean you’ve failed. It doesn’t mean that you should go back to that bad habit you were trying to quit simply because you slipped up.

Recalibrate and adapt. Remember your game plan for what you’ll do when you misstep and learn from it going forward.

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And if you’d rather hear all this, I created an IGTV version of this for you!

Do you have a resolution for 2021? I’d love to hear about it in the comments below!

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