Top reasons why New Years resolutions fail, and how to make yours stick.

Top reasons why New Years resolutions fail, and how to make yours stick.

Another New Years rolls by and many of us follow the time honoured tradition of setting New Years resolutions, to get fit, improve our health or be all around “better” people. Sounds fantastic! Except studies[1] show, that 88% of people who set a resolution failed to actually follow through with them.


This blog will give some hints as to where we tend to go wrong and give some quick and simple solutions to make your resolutions effective this year.
Problem: We’re pushed by the pain, but not pulled by the vision.
There is a saying that people make change when they’re either pushed by the pain or pulled by the vision. In fact a lot of people (including marketing “experts”) will tell you that pain is the greatest motivator for change. The problem with change that is motivated by pain is that it’s too short lived. The motivation lasts about as long as the pain does; which is fine if you only need short-term motivation. But to create sustainable change in your life, change that won’t have you setting the same New Year’s resolutions next December, you need to find a vision that pulls you forward.

Solution: A vision for change is, put simply, WHAT you want and WHY you want it. Although most people focus on the what, it is the why that is actually the motivator, particularly when it is connected to your values and what really matters to you (as opposed to what you “should” do).  When your vision is well defined it will compel you, remind you of what you really want in life, and motivate you to get out of bed when you’re just not feeling it.


Problem: We dream big, without thinking about how we’ll get there.

Often when we define our New Years resolutions, we often focus on the first part of a vision statement, that fantastic outcome we are wanting, but forget that it will take some steps to get us there. We all know that large-scale changes do not occur over night, but somehow we don’t think of that as we start our own change journeys. This lack of planning has us overwhelmed by choices, and often defeated by obstacles that we could have planned for.

Solution: Create small, achievable goals that will get you moving towards your vision for yourself. We’ve all at least heard of SMART goals. We’ve probably even created them in our professional life. So why would it be any different for personal change? Don’t get me wrong; I still want you to “reach for the stars”, but then set up the stepping-stones for you to actually get there. If you’re not doing this with a coach, then do it yourself. Ask yourself “so from where I am now to where I want to be, what’s the next logical step that I could do this week? And then what could I do the following week?” One step at a time.


Problem: Change is bloody hard (on your own)

There is a fair amount of research around the topic of weight loss in particular, that people who create lasting changes, are people who have support, be that people in their lives, support groups, or professionals who support them. This is true for all change: when the going gets tough, we need other people to check in with, cheer us on, or just hold us accountable.

Solution: An important way to make change stick is by sharing it, and being accountable to another person.  This is where working with a coach can be highly effective, having someone to check in with about those goals you’ve set. But if you’re not working with a coach, try setting that up with a friend, or a colleague, someone not personally invested in the change, and ask him or her to check in with you about it on a regular basis. You could offer to do the same for them. Insider secret: accountability works wonders.


So go forth into the new year, get clear about what you really want and why it truly matters, set some stepping stones in place, and tell a friend to ask you next week how you’re going.  And while you’re at it, let me know as well!


* Lucine is a Wellness Coach, beginning consults at Bodycare’s newest studio in Port Melbourne. For more information about Lucine or about wellness coaching, click here.


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