Motivation Articles

Top 10 Signs You'll Fail to Reach Your Resolutions

(And How to Rock Your Resolutions This Year)

By Ellen G. Goldman, Health & Wellness Coach         
Page 1 of 4
Do you start off the year with hopeful thoughts about what you want in months ahead? January brings feelings of a clean slate, knowing we get to start again. We are determined to make the upcoming year the best one yet.
According to several research surveys, approximately 50% of Americans make resolutions every year. Losing weight, getting organized, sticking to a budget, exercising more and quitting smoking are some of the most common resolutions reported. Sadly, these same surveys estimate that by the end of January, most people are inconsistent at sticking to their resolutions, and by mid-February as many as 85% will fail or give up completely.
Why is it that our best thoughts, ideas and intentions are so quickly abandoned? More important, is there anything we can do differently to change the outcome?
Here are 10 reasons New Year's resolutions fail the people who set them, plus tips to turn them around to achieve success once and for all this year.

10 Signs You Won't Reach Your Resolutions This Year
1. You make the same resolutions year after year. Albert Einstein said, "The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results." Telling yourself every January that you are going to make a specific change, and then not doing it, is not only insane by Einstein's definition, but it's also frustrating and demoralizing. With this approach, you accomplish little more than feeling bad about yourself.
Turn it around for success: When looking at most resolutions, what people usually write down is a list of outcomes. But to reach these outcomes, behavior needs to change first. Make sure the resolutions you make are actual behaviors (actions) you are willing and able to change. You might want to lose weight, but are you willing to change the way you eat and start exercising regularly in order to do so? Be brutally honest with yourself. If the answer is "no," save the resolution for a time when you can honestly say "yes."
2. You have three or more resolutions on your list. When we try to make major changes in many different areas of our lives at the same time, we often end up overwhelmed. Change takes effort, energy and work, and we all have limited amounts of time, willpower and resources.
Turn it around for success: Pick only one resolution to focus on at a time. When thinking about the many improvement goals on your list, which one ignites your desire the most? Which one, if successful, would have the biggest positive impact on your life? Which one do you feel the most optimistic about being successful? Start there and remember that success increases confidence. Once you've reached your goal, no matter what month, you can begin working on the next one.
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About The Author

Ellen Goldman Ellen Goldman
Ellen founded EllenG Coaching, LLC to help individuals struggling with health issues that can be impacted by positive lifestyle change, such as weight loss, stress management, exercise, and life/work balance. As a certified professional wellness coach and certified personal trainer, Ellen holds a BS and Masters in Physical Education and is certified by ACSM, AFAA, and Wellcoaches Corporation. Visit her at Get her complimentary report, 52 Tips, Tools & Tricks to Permanent Weight Loss Without Going on a Diet, at

Member Comments

  • I don't agree with making resolutions for New Year's. I think you are setting yourself up for failure, in the thought that by making a resolution, you probably feel that your will power is insufficient to deal with the subject of the resolution. Address the subject, especially if it is a problem, with a solution. - 1/1/2016 9:40:08 PM
  • Great article. I find it best to make a list of "goals" for the year - not resolutions . . . . I make detailed steps to get to my goals. The only one I have been unable to achieve is the weight loss and 2016 is going to be the year that I actually stick to it! - 12/31/2015 11:30:34 PM
    I liked being reminded to reward successes, every little step. Good for me to remember, to be specific about goals. I usually start a few weeks a head of having a goal, by practicing, to see if I can do it. It gives me a running start. I welcome have a goal or a plan, it is a feeling of renewal and hope for me. I've certainly had my share of failures. For me the article helps me to build a better plan. - 12/31/2015 6:51:19 PM
  • Think of it this way: 2016 is a leap year, so you get an extra day to meet your goals. :3 - 12/31/2015 6:12:53 PM
  • I posted on your spark page, miniaturist - 12/31/2015 5:14:58 PM
  • I quit making resolutions, instead I live to be healthy everyday. - 12/31/2015 3:27:52 PM
  • Miniaturist, I'm thinking you focused on the failure part of the article and not the success part. The most important part is how to "turn it around." I suggest you copy and paste those parts of the article into a Word doc and reread it. It may then contain the message you need at the moment. I quite making resolutions years ago for these very same reasons, and the "turn it around" messages are really quite helpful. Blessing to you, and have a happy new year! - 12/31/2015 11:21:04 AM
    Just starting out on this journey and the first thing I see seems to be negativity telling me why I'll fail. Surely there is a way to make first impressions less disheartening. - 12/31/2015 10:44:50 AM
  • I don't make resolutions. They only set you up for failure. I have enough of that in my life already. - 12/31/2015 10:39:29 AM
  • What a wonderful article--thank you for posting! Just another reason why I love SparkPeople so much. :-D - 12/31/2015 9:03:07 AM
  • I don't do resolutions, I have no support system and I've stopped caring. I'm done before I even get started. What a wonderful article. - 12/31/2015 8:05:21 AM
  • I just try to do the best I can because you never keep that promise. - 1/28/2014 6:41:58 PM
  • Remember this quote on goal setting by Gandhi:

    Glory lies in the attempt to reach one's goal and not in reaching it.

    You may want to check out http://www.Go, a very nicely built web app designed for tracking goals, habits, and todo lists, and supports time tracking too. It's clear, focused, easy to navigate, and most of all, really works!
    - 1/22/2014 2:00:30 AM
  • I have only made two resolutions this year. To get more organized----whic
    h I have already started to do, and to lose 50 lbs by summer. To accomplish the second I have joined the YMCA, doing water aerobics, deep water exercises, aqua stretch and then working out on the machines and with free weights. I love my Tai Chi class---so relaxing. The one part about this article that I disagree with is the tracking device---I have NEVER been able to figure out the tracking devices on this site. They never have the exercises I do. Tried filling them in under the "add your own exercises" but that didn't work either. So I keep track of everything at home and so does my personal trainer. - 1/21/2014 1:11:10 PM
    I don't make resolutions. I can change my behavior whenever I commit to that change. - 1/21/2014 11:02:39 AM

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