Why New Year’s Resolutions Don’t Work

Happy New Year's party favors

Before the ball drops, many people hold in their hearts wishes for the next year – things they want to accomplish and what they consider would be a successful year. Some may reflect on their last year’s goals and feel disappointed as some have been missed. Goals for the next year may include losing weight, drinking less, smoking less, traveling more, spending more time with family, and others. The unfortunate reality is that New Year’s resolutions don’t work very well. Let’s explore why:

Many people don’t detail any plan they make to achieve their goals. Dr. Diane Dreher, best-selling author, personal coach, and English professor at Santa Clara University, told Psychology Today that many people don’t achieve their resolutions because they make too many resolutions without focusing on their goals one step at a time. She stated that habits are difficult to break because they have become conditioned behaviors – we have learned to act without thinking. When this happens, we automatically hold back from making any change because we continue to do what we have always done. It seems simple, but we make it complicated.

Deep down inside, many of us fear failure. We are afraid that if we try to make the change, we may prove to ourselves that we truly aren’t “good enough” or “strong enough” or “dedicated enough” to make our goals happen. The Huffington Post claims that these fears hang low in our unconscious mind – which many of us neglect to admit we even have. These deep beliefs and fears withhold us from ourselves, and cause inner conflict. So, when we make all claims of working towards success before the ball drops – deep down we don’t really mean it because we’ve already told ourselves we’re not going to do anything about it unless something magical happens.

Forbes argues that while 75% of New Year’s resolutions will be continued throughout the entire first week of January, only about 46% of them make it past the 6-month mark and even less actually achieve their goals by the end of the year. If you’re wanting to cut down on smoking, start today. At the very least, if you are going to make a New Year’s resolution, don’t commit yourself to an entire year right away. Focus on that week or that month. Slowly work your way into a healthier habit.

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