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The 10 reasons why people lose their New Year’s resolutions

December 22, 2020
By: Rich Bello
5 min read
What makes accomplished goal setters different? Well, they start by reading this post.
New Year’s resolutions

According to U.S. News, 80% of people give up on their New Year’s resolutions by the second week of February. That’s approximately six weeks after what researchers call the ‘holiday remorse’ goal-setting craze. Simply put, during the holidays, a lot of people tend to over-eat, over-drink, and over-spend. These things cause them to feel remorse, pledging to end the bad habits, and replace them with good habits moving into the next year.  

So, why don’t we keep the resolutions we make? Why is it difficult to stay on track with what we genuinely believe will benefit our lives?  

Let’s discuss.  

1. Accountability

We have NO motivation to stick to our plan!

When it comes to setting goals, one of the top factors in determining whether someone sticks to them is accountability. We’ve all set a plan with the intention of keeping it, but when pressures mount and stress rises, we give in – often with the phrase, “It’s ok just this once, no one will see.” The key is to have someone (NOT YOU) proactively checking in with you on a pre-determined basis to make sure you’re on track. This individual can be a friend, family member, spouse, partner, or app on your phone. That way, you can take responsibility for the results you do and don’t attain.

2. No written plan

If it is not written, it is likely, not going to happen for you. 

A recent study indicated that those who physically write down their goals (daily) are 42% more likely to achieve them than those who simply verbalize them. That being said, it’s much easier to just “think” about our goals with the hope of remembering them, but we all know how this usually ends up. We forget. We procrastinate. We don’t take it seriously. Writing our goals down will increase motivation, track progress, concentrate efforts, and filter opportunities.  

3. Not specific enough

Clear actions set you up for success.

When setting goals, people often (mostly unknowingly) make them too broad. Their goal is to “Lose weight by March.” Yes, that’s a goal – but how are you going to achieve it? A simple formula to adhere to is this: I will (goal + measurement performance) by (specific actions).” This would look like, “I will lose 10 pounds in two months by running on a treadmill half an hour a day for six days a week.” This provides you with measurable markers to see if you are on track to hitting your goal.  

4. Procrastination

Find what is blocking you from taking ACTION!

Setting goals is one thing, but unless we’re willing to ACT on them, they’re meaningless. Procrastination is what prevents us from acting on our goals and reaching our potential. The phrase, “I’ll just do it tomorrow,” can be dangerous, as each day we choose not to act creates a more significant gulf between who we want to be and who we are now. Discover what is preventing you from working on your goals and fix it. A good technique for combatting the procrastination bug is the 5-second rule, popularized by Mel Robbins. In essence, if you are faced with a decision, deciding to act within 5 seconds drastically increases your chances of following through. Waiting any longer than that puts you at risk to hit the snooze button, eat one more piece of cheesecake, or binge another series on Netflix.  

5. Lack of Willpower

Renew your willpower and use it wisely! 

Willpower is synonymous with energy. The more of it we have, the more likely we are to get stuff done! That being said, self-awareness is critical in diagnosing when you have the most willpower and when you have the least. For example, willpower is highest in the morning (or after we sleep) and then deteriorates throughout the day as we engage in mentally/physically exhausting tasks. So, when it comes to accomplishing your goals, make sure you’re doing them when your willpower is strongest!  

6. Lack of Momentum

The hardest part is starting, so keep going once you start! 

Lao Tzu is quoted as saying, “A journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.” Momentum (or lack thereof) can be a powerful thing when it comes to goal achievement. What matters is starting! Too often, we’re halted by fear, discouragement, or past experiences. This leads to regret and remorse over opportunities missed. Those who have ever achieved anything of value in this life have all felt like that – but what sets them apart is the fact that they chose to start the journey regardless, allowing their momentum to carry them to fulfillment.  

7. Fear

False Evidence Appearing Real.

Don’t succumb to fear! 

As we saw in the previous section, fear can play a significant role in keeping us from starting the goal achievement journey. Everybody has fear, but not everybody let’s fear have them. Those who choose to live their life in fear will never find the fulfillment they genuinely desire. In the words of Susan Jeffers, “Feel the fear and do it anyway!” This will allow you to conquer the demons that are keeping you from achieving your greatest potential.  

8. Lack of a strong purpose

You need your WHY! 

Friedrich Nietzsche once said, “If you know the why, you can live anyhow.” Those who understand their purpose in life can figure out ways to accomplish their goals regardless of personal circumstances or surrounding environments. Those who don’t, however, are stuck on the path of complacency and laziness. Discover your why, and let it push you towards achievement!  

9. Lack of setting priorities

Don’t do less important and urgent tasks!

It’s human nature to do the task that requires the least amount of effort – and setting goals takes effort! What does that mean? Well, we must put priorities in place to accomplish the important in place of the unimportant. Netflix may seem more exciting, but will it help you lose the weight you’ve wanted to lose? Probably not. Set those priorities, reach those goals, and reap the good life!  

10. Too many distractions

Did you get CAUGHT UP?! 

The great Zig Ziglar is quoted as saying, “Are you a wandering generality, or a meaningful specific?” Succumbing to distractions turns us into wandering generalities. We become one with the crowd instead of standing apart from it. Those who maintain their New Year’s resolutions stay away from distractions and PLAN their free time according to what’s important to them. They run the day, not the other way around.  

2021 has the potential to be a year where all your most meaningful goals become attainable, but ONLY if you take deliberate action towards them. This will take effort, but nothing worthwhile in life comes with ease. Take the steps, craft your plan, live your dreams! 

 Ready to take charge of your New Year’s Resolutions? Sign up for our Goal Setting Masterclass to create lasting change for 2021 and beyond!

By: Rich Bello


  1. Perfect timing…I feel like being stuck at home actually helps!

  2. Great points! It’s so easy to slip up on your resolutions because of any of these reasons. So important to be aware of these.


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