New Year’s resolutions are a common tradition, but unfortunately, they often don’t stick. According to a Forbes Health/OnePoll survey conducted in October of 2023, 61.7% of respondents say they feel pressured to set a New Year’s resolution. In addition, many respondents are planning on setting multiple goals with 66.5% stating they plan on making three or more resolutions for the year ahead1. However, over 90% of New Year’s resolutions will be abandoned within just a few months.
There are several reasons why New Year’s resolutions fail. One reason is that we often think too big and set unrealistic goals. Another reason is that we may not be ready for change, or we may not have a clear understanding of why we want to make a change1. According to a licensed clinical psychologist Terri Bly, “As humans, we do tend to be optimistic in the face of evidence”
Our brains are wired to resist change, and we often need to change deep-seated habits and alter the neural pathways responsible. But as our brains resist this discomfort, we are tempted to go back to a more comfortable place. This is known as the status quo bias.
To create lasting change, it’s important to set realistic goals, break them down into smaller steps, and have a clear understanding of why you want to make a change. It’s also important to be patient and kind to yourself, and to remember that change is a process that takes time and effort.
New Year’s resolutions can be a great way to set goals and make positive changes in your life. However, it’s important to set realistic goals, understand why you want to make a change, and be patient and kind to yourself. By doing so, you can increase your chances of success and create lasting change in your life.
Think about what you want and don't set an unrealistic goal. Don't decide to go running every day, start with two or three times a week and even with just a walk. Work up to things, don't start at the top!