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New Years Resolutions: How To Make Them Stick

new year resolutionsDo you know the percentage of new years resolutions that come to fruition?

If you don’t, what would you speculate?

You’re a smart person and I’m pretty sure you guessed at a low figure, but I doubt you guessed as low as it really is.

Research has shown that almost 90% of new years resolutions barely last long enough for people to have packed the Christmas tree away.

That’s hardly likely to give you the boost you need to go balls to the wall, when people like me are pointing out such a low success rate.

And sorry to be a dream-crusher, but my guess (because I have never seen researched stats) is that it gets far worse as the weeks slip by.

I’d genuinely be surprised if more than a measly 1% get implemented, stuck with, and are still firmly in place the following New Years Eve.

Why do you think that is?

  • A lack of belief?
  • A lack of commitment and/or interest?
  • Setting goals that are too lofty?
  • A lack of resources?
  • Having little emotional, spiritual or financial investment?

Of course all one or all of those may come into play although I don’t think any are the major reason.

The 6 P’s

In my opinion it’s largely a lack of planning and forethought. As we used to say when I worked in sales:

‘Perfect Planning Prevents Piss Poor Performance’

Most new years resolutions are set in the middle of the holiday season when the person is often in a great frame of mind. It’s easy setting goals after one two many aperitifs when all feels great in the world.

At that time people have no clue as to how they’ll feel about their goal in the middle of January when life gets back to normal.

Often the initial enthusiasm has completely evaporated and they are left thinking “WTF was I thinking of?”

Once that thought has snuck in it’s almost impossible to push through because your brain wants desperately to drop back into easier, trusted patterns of thought and behavior.

How Do You Make New Years Resolutions Stick

Firstly, don’t set them!

I’m serious, drop any goal setting ideas you currently have that aren’t thoroughly thought through to the nth degree.

You have my permission to get the holiday period out of the way and get back into your normal routine before you start.

Secondly, understand the potential pitfalls that you may incur before you start.

When you have thought of all the pitfalls, think of some more because I can almost guarantee you’ll have missed some.

Trust me, this one thing can make a huge difference because there will be obstacles to your path and if you don’t know what they are they can scupper your chances of success.

The Goal Setting Process

And thirdly, understand the goal setting process inside and out.

If you don’t, you can either read my How To Set Goals post, or sign up for my newsletter at the bottom of this post and you’ll get my comprehensive in-depth ebook on goals for free.

You could also hire me, but to be honest goal setting is fairly easy IF you plan properly.

So for that alone you probably don’t need a Life Coach, unless that is, you struggle with procrastination and/or accountability issues as well.

That’s it really, I suppose I could sum it up my saying you make new year resolutions stick by not setting any at the new year.

Good luck with whatever it is you’re looking to achieve in 2013 and remember to be patient with yourself because success is seldom an upward smooth curve.

Also, a very happy new year to you and yours and thanks so much for your support through 2012, I truly appreciate it!

PS My latest ebook 70 Amazing Facts About Your Brain that was inspired after I wrote this post on brain facts is out on January 8th and will be free for one week, so check back!

11 comments to New Years Resolutions: How To Make Them Stick

  • Tim, I just love your work, and I’m so glad I found you. Something made me thoroughly read through your How to Quit Smoking article even though I don’t smoke. I have applied all the steps to a habit I had of napping during the day. It works wonders!

    I have always been a defender of naps :). And any day that had that little window, I would grab one. But I had to admit to myself that this habit made me feel lazy, even though I know I’m not. So something that was supposed to refresh and rejuvenate was actually making me feel bad…go figure.

    It took your wonderful article to spur me to make this change. I wanted you to know that I am starting 2013 having turned over a new leaf thanks to you! I’m sure you have helped many. Keep up the great work…

  • Thanks for the new years wishes and no thanks for the advice!?! :)

    Don’t set resolutions at the new year? Makes perfect sense if we think about it more. NEw years resolutions are just tied to time – a new date on the calendar. All the usual things that go into planning, strategizing and executing a goal are missing. And the whole question of why we’re doing something is also missing – we just do resolutions like countdowns and holiday parties (out of habit/tradition/free alcohol)

  • I agree with the idea that resolutions made the last days of the year are not really serious. Only a meaningful resolution after serious conclusions can survive all obstacles of the way. If you are not serious enough, it’s really better not to set goals.

  • Thanks Tim….

    Nice post title “What If I fail?”

    That is the question that ran through my mind when i was about to make my new year resolution for last year 2012…

    It can really hinder many things..

    Thanks for your article

  • Ben

    I agree about not doing new years resolutions. I always wondered “why wait to the last day of the year to create a goal”. I’m more like i’ll create it any time without waiting.

    Got one goal i’m keeping track of mainly at the moment but I set it before the new year. :)

  • Joe

    Great Post, I stopped making new years resolutions almost 20 years ago, back when I was in high school. I remember family and friends getting all excited to make resolutions when it occurred to me, if starting this or stopping that was really so important, why don’t you do it right now?

    So I go with my inspiration and make changes when inspired to do so, rather than procrastinating till the new year.
    Glad i came across your blog, I’m looking forward to reading more.
    Joe