10 Reasons Why New Year’s Resolutions Don’t Work

Do you keep setting the same goals year after year? It’s time to change. These ten reasons why New Year’s resolutions don’t work are from Laura Berman Fortgang, life coach and author of Living Your Best Life.

“New Year’s Resolutions don’t work even though you set them year after year,” says Fortgang. “In fact, 23% of us break them in a week and 45% by the end of the month.”

Sure, that’s the bad news…but the good news is that you have the power to change what doesn’t work into something that does!

10 Reasons New Year’s Resolutions Don’t Work

1.  You haven’t made room in your life for a new priority. The odds are that something’s got to go if you’re really serious about achieving a new goal.  Determine and declare your top five priorities and be willing to let go of the rest–at least for now.

2.  You’re trying to change something that’s a symptom of a bigger issue. You may be trying to change a bad habit  or a certain behavior, like smoking or overeating, by developing more self-discipline.  Why not do the real work by looking within yourself to understand how you got there in the first place?

3.  You’re changing something because you think you should change it –not because you want to change it. External pressures or doing the ‘right’ thing won’t cut it in the end.  What really counts is what you want.  Figure out what inspires you from the inside and then devote yourself to it.

4.  You’ve chosen a goal that’s too big. Although you may be initially excited about the prospect of achieving a large goal, you could feel deflated once reality sets in.  Chop your resolution down into bite-size pieces and accomplish it one bite at a time.

Is your New Year’s Resolution to get a degree or diploma? Read 5 Ways to Stay Motivated to Go to College – From Bored to Inspired!

5.  You haven’t learned to say “no” to people and projects that’ll distract you. As much as you want your resolutions to stick, you may find yourself devoting precious time and energy elsewhere–whether it’s on “want-tos” or “have-tos”.  You can only do so much, so get comfortable using the word “no” to avoid distractions.

Reasons Why New Year’s Resolutions Don’t Work

10 Reasons Why New Year’s Resolutions Don’t Work

6.  You don’t set up the structure for making change happen. You may be adding a resolution into your mix without coming  up with a master plan and schedule to make it a part of your life.  Put a system in place that’ll support the change by giving you the structure you need.

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7.  You don’t seek out someone to hold you accountable. It’s easy to lose focus when we don’t have accountability. Whether it’s a coach, trainer, doctor, relative, or close friend, seek out someone who you can trust to be there for you.  Plus, tell him or her on the front end when and how you want support.

Is your New Year’s Resolution to take your career in a different direction? Read How to Quit Your Job When You’re Scared.

8.  You let the New Year’s Resolution rule your life. If you go overboard pursuing your resolution, you may put too much pressure on the rest of your life and find it hard to maintain it.  Set realistic expectations, plan for them, and get support. Plus, give yourself some extra room by telling your family, friends and colleagues in advance that your attention may be off them for awhile.

9.  You don’t take consistent action. You won’t go the distance with sporadic spurts of activity. Commit to do one thing a day – no matter how small – that puts you closer to your goals.

10.  You don’t celebrate the small victories. If your eyes are glued on the prize, you may be “living in the gap” between where you are and where you want to be. Set yourself up to succeed by celebrating the small victories. Success breeds success, so make them all count.

Is it ever a good idea to give up on your New Year’s Resolutions? Yes! Read Is Quitting Healthy? How to Know When to Give Up on Your Goals.

Why haven’t your New Year’s Resolutions haven’t worked?

Laurie's "She Blossoms" Books

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Growing Forward When You Can't Go Back offers hope, encouragement, and strength for women walking through loss. My Blossom Tips are fresh and practical - they stem from my own experiences with a schizophrenic mother, foster homes, a devastating family estrangement, and infertility.

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How to Let Go of Someone You Love: Powerful Secrets (and Practical Tips!) for Healing Your Heart is filled with comforting and healthy breakup advice. The Blossom Tips will help you loosen unhealthy attachments to the past, seal your heart with peace, and move forward with joy.

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When You Miss Him Like Crazy: 25 Lessons to Move You From Broken to Blossoming After a Breakup will help you refocus your life, re-create yourself, and start living fully again! Your spirit will rise and you'll blossom into who you were created to be.

Laura Berman Fortgang, a pioneer in the life coaching field, is the author of three self help books, including The Little Book on Meaning. For more info, visit her blog or website.

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