13 Reasons Why People Fail to Stick to Their New Year Resolutions

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By Jacob Maslow

• Achieve your goals by planning and being dedicated
• Get support from others with the same resolutions
• Stay on track with helpful resources

It is no secret that many people struggle to stick to their new year’s resolutions, but why? According to Psychology Today, “A lack of commitment and follow-through are the primary reasons people fail at reaching New Year’s resolutions.” This means that it is not just procrastination or an aversion to change that stops individuals from succeeding in their efforts – planning and dedication are also necessary for success.

1. Unclear Goals:

Too often, individuals set goals without really knowing what they want to achieve by when. Without clearly defined objectives, planning steps toward achieving the desired outcome can be challenging.

“A goal without a plan is just a wish” – Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

This quote captures the essence of setting achievable goals – if you do not have an actionable plan for reaching them, it becomes much harder to stay motivated and focus.

2. Unrealistic Expectations:

Another common reason people fail to follow through with their resolutions is that they set expectations that are too ambitious or unlikely to be accomplished within a reasonable period.

“If you want something, work for it; don’t wait around expecting miracles” – Unknown.

This reminder speaks to the importance of taking responsibility for achieving your goals and understanding that success will take time and effort. If you expect to accomplish something overnight, the odds are slim.

3. Poor Time Management:

Even if individuals set realistic expectations for their goals, they may fail to stick to them if they do not manage their time effectively. Achieving goals can seem overwhelming and complicated without strong organizational skills and a structured schedule.

“Time is the most valuable thing a man can spend” – Theophrastus

This phrase emphasizes that each minute we have should be used to reach our resolutions. We cannot afford to waste any time – it should be spent wisely to get closer to our end goal.

4. Lack of Support:

When individuals do not have a support system or people who can help them stay motivated and accountable, it is easy to give up on the resolution they set out to achieve. Having someone you can talk to or rely on as you progress toward your goals can make all the difference.

“It’s not just about having friends; it’s about having the right kind of friends who will support you and cheer for you when times get tough” – Unknown.

This emphasizes the importance of surrounding yourself with people who genuinely care about your success and are willing to help you reach your desired outcome. This kind of support can be invaluable.

5. Fear of Failure:

Frequently, individuals do not even attempt to stick to their resolutions because they are afraid of failing. This fear can be paralyzing and prevent any real progress from being made.

“Success is not final; failure is not fatal: It is the courage to continue that counts” – Winston Churchill

This quote speaks to the importance of perseverance in achieving goals – failure should not be viewed as an end but rather as a learning opportunity. If we are brave enough to keep trying despite setbacks, we will eventually find success.

6. Too Many Resolutions:

Making more than one resolution can be overwhelming and hard to track. If an individual has too many goals to reach, it can become difficult to focus on any single one.

“The key is not to prioritize what’s on your schedule, but to schedule your priorities” – Stephen Covey.

This phrase speaks to the importance of focusing on the most important goals – if you try to do everything at once, none of them will get done. Prioritizing tasks and ensuring you have enough time for each can help make progress much more straightforward.

7. Unhealthy Habits:

If an individual has unhealthy habits, such as smoking or drinking, it can make reaching any resolution more difficult. Bad habits can be hard to break, and if an individual does not have the willpower to do so, their chances of failure are higher.

“Your present circumstances don’t determine where you can go; they merely determine where you start” – Nido Qubein.

This quote speaks to the power of self-determination – no matter your current lifestyle choices, they do not define who you are and what you can become. With enough dedication and commitment, anyone can change their habits for the better and successfully achieve their goals.

8. Unclear Goals:

If an individual does not set clear and specific goals, it can be challenging to determine what exactly needs to be done to reach them. Without a clearly defined path, there is no way of knowing if success or failure has been achieved.

“A goal without a plan is just a wish” – Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

This phrase emphasizes the importance of having an actionable plan – any goal we set out to achieve must have a structured strategy for us to accomplish it. Wishing for something will not make it happen; our dreams must have concrete steps to become a reality.

9. Unrealistic Expectations:

Setting unrealistic expectations can be detrimental to achieving any goal. If an individual sets out to do something impossible or highly improbable, it will be difficult for them to stay motivated and see progress because their goals are too far-fetched.

“If your dreams don’t scare you, they aren’t big enough” – Ellen Johnson Sirleaf

This quote speaks to the importance of having challenging yet achievable goals – if we set our sights too low, we will never push ourselves as hard as we can, and our aspirations will remain unfulfilled. On the other hand, if we aim high enough to make us anxious, then there is a much higher chance of success.

10. Lack of Motivation:

Individuals may find that they lack the motivation to stick to their resolutions once they have been set. This can be due to various reasons, such as feeling unmotivated or overwhelmed with the task ahead.

“Motivation is what gets you started; habit is what keeps you going” – Jim Ryun

This phrase speaks to the importance of forming good habits – any resolution we set out to achieve must become part of our daily routine to stay on track and eventually reach our goal. Without forming these habits, making real progress over time will be challenging.

11. Not Taking Responsibility:

If an individual does not take responsibility for their actions and does not accept that failure is a part of the journey, it can be challenging to stay motivated and make progress towards any goal. Understanding that mistakes are a natural part of attempting something new is essential. Still, if an individual cannot learn from them and move forward, they will likely fail in achieving their resolution.

“You must take personal responsibility. You cannot change the circumstances, the seasons, or the wind, but you can change yourself” – Jim Rohn

This phrase speaks to the importance of taking ownership of our own lives. Instead of controlling external factors that are out of our control, we must focus on changing our attitudes and behavior. Only then can we begin to make real progress toward our goals.

12. Not Adjusting Course:

If an individual does not adjust their plan when faced with obstacles, it can be difficult to reach any goal. It is essential to understand that life may throw us some curveballs, and it is up to us how we react – if we can adjust our strategy and come up with a new plan of attack, there is no reason why we cannot still reach success.

“Successful people don’t do different things; they just do things differently” – Stephen Covey

This phrase emphasizes the importance of adapting to changing circumstances and being flexible. If a plan is not working, we may need to adjust our tactics to achieve success. Having an open mind and being willing to try different approaches gives us a much better chance of reaching our goals.

13. Not Celebrating Small Victories:

It can be easy for individuals to forget to celebrate their successes when attempting any goal. After all, our eyes usually focus on the result rather than taking time out for self-reflection and appreciation. However, it is essential to remember that progress should still be celebrated even if the final resolution has yet to be reached.

“If you want to live a happy life, tie it to a goal, not to people or things” – Albert Einstein

This powerful quote speaks to the importance of setting goals and striving towards them – by focusing our efforts on reaching a specific target, we can enjoy minor successes along the way and be proud of our achievements once they are reached. This process will give us a much greater sense of fulfillment than relying on other people or material possessions for happiness.

There are many reasons why individuals may fail to reach their resolutions. From lack of planning and unrealistic expectations to not taking responsibility or adjusting course when faced with roadblocks, we must consider all aspects of reaching any goal before setting out on our journey. By following this advice, we can increase our chances of success and enjoy the rewards of reaching any resolution.

“No matter how many goals you have achieved, you must set your sights on a higher one” – Jessica Savitch.


What are some of the reasons why people fail to reach their goals?

Various factors can lead to failure when trying to reach goals, such as lack of planning and unrealistic expectations, not taking responsibility or adjusting course when faced with roadblocks, and not celebrating small victories.

How can individuals increase their chances of success?

Individuals can increase their chances of success by taking responsibility and adjusting course if necessary, celebrating small victories along the way, and setting ambitious goals for themselves. By following this advice, individuals can find satisfaction in achieving their resolutions.

What is the importance of setting goals?

Setting goals is crucial because it gives us a sense of purpose and direction and motivates us to strive for something bigger. It also allows us to enjoy more minor successes along the way and be proud of our achievements once they are reached. Ultimately, this process will give us a much greater sense of fulfillment than relying on other people or material possessions for happiness.

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