Why Most New Year’s Resolutions Fail and
How to Re-Set Your Resolutions NOW For Success


How many times have you vowed to lose 20 pounds starting with the New Year or said that this was the year you were going to cut back on your drinking or quit smoking once and for all?

After the excitement of the New Year dies down, will your New Year’s resolution survive?

After celebrating on New Year’s Eve and using it as the last hurrah to overindulge, most people set out on a stringent quest of resolutions beginning the very next day. Then around the end of January, many fail to live up to their stated resolutions, give up and go back to their former lifestyle.

One survey listed the top three resolution categories in order of popularity:

  • 37% – Start exercising
  • 13% – Eat better
  • 7% – Reduce alcohol and caffeine consumption or quit smoking

The researchers found that people who looked at self-control as a form of willpower had the tendency to make more than one resolution and those who perceived themselves as having poor self-control gave up sooner in trying to meet their goals or folded quickly in keeping their New Year’s resolutions.

And the expectations and success/failure rate of these resolutions showed that:

  • 75 percent failed on their first attempt
  • 67 percent made more than one resolution

How to Make a Winning New Year’s Resolution Succeed

The bottom line is all about your self-perception and belief in yourself. If you believe that you have unlimited, strong self-control and confidence in your ability to set and achieve your goals, then your chances of success are much greater and you will naturally set more goals for yourself.

The second part of successfully meeting your goals is becoming an active participant. Just saying that you’re going to quit smoking doesn’t automatically make it happen. You have to make it happen by doing research on effective quitting methods and seeking out other means of support and resources to achieving your goal. Otherwise you’ll be making a half-hearted attempt that winds up in failure.

Experts recommend some Do’s and Don’ts to Making New Year’s Resolutions Succeed:

  • Do make a strong initial commitment to yourself to making a change
  • Don’t wait until the last minute to make your New Year’s resolutions turn to actions
  • Do have pre-set coping strategies lined up for dealing with problems or challenges that may arise along the way
  • Don’t base your New Year’s resolutions actions on rash feelings or reactions that may have surfaced during your New Year’s Eve celebration
  • Do track your progress, monitor and seek out feedback on your goals
  • Don’t structure your mental focus of your resolutions as affirmations that are based on ultimatums such as, “I will never do X again”
  • Do set ongoing realistic goals

Build up Your Willpower Muscle

Your ability to control the amount of food you eat or alcohol you consume is controlled by your self-control capabilities otherwise known as willpower, a subject under the intense scrutiny of scientific researchers. Similar to muscles that we workout at the gym to strengthen, will power has been described by researchers as a mental muscle that needs to be exercised in order to strengthen self-control.

The willpower muscle in need of exercise is the prefrontal cortex of the brain, which is located just behind your forehead. As with any muscle, overworking leads to fatigue and sometimes muscle failure.

The same theory applies to your prefrontal cortex, so researchers recommend that when it comes to New Year’s resolutions to limit how many are made to avoid overtaxing this muscle — and then giving it breaks every once in a while to help the muscle recuperate. For example, asking the brain to stop eating all of its favorite foods at the drop of a dime is too much to ask all at once, so starting with giving up one favorite food at a time may be a more feasible and realistic goal to achieve.

Researchers suggest practicing self-control in baby steps by making simple changes — like vowing to give up one food or to stop using profanities — to make your mind stronger mentally to be able to handle bigger challenges down the road.

How to Rejuvenate Your Willpower
Establish An Exercise Program Routine to Support Your Self-Control and Health

You need to exercise your will power in order to gain self control.

Find and exercise routine and program that incorporates the philosophy that “fitness is both a state of the body and mind”. Your best health and wellbeing comes from the combination of both.

These two mind and body factors together become an inspirational force that can help you to create a positive lifestyle with a healthy body and the supportive mental and emotional paradigm shift to deal with these changing and demanding times.

One encourages the other and together they help you find balance, self-control, self-confidence and a personal state of well-being.

Self realizations combined with your own positive reinforcement can reduce stress, help you make better choices and improve the overall quality of your life and the lives of those around you.

When your willpower begins to get depleted, there are two major strategies to help restore it:

  • Sleep: Your willpower is more likely to fail if you’ve already used it numerous times throughout the day and not yet recharged your batteries with sleep.
  • Regular challenges: If you make it a point to not eat chocolate or exercise a bit longer each day, it will increase your self-regulatory capacity.

Further, you can help to reserve some of your brainpower by delegating unimportant choices to others. For instance, let your spouse decide your plans for the weekend or let your waiter or waitress recommend a good entrée to order when you eat out.

In terms of exercise specifically, researchers found listening to music and making a specific commitment to exercise (setting a time and place) can help rejuvenate your willpower.

You may also find, if you have trouble gathering up your willpower and committing to your regular workouts, that choosing a fitness routine that addresses both your MIND and your body may be very helpful.

If you are currently in a state of mental unrest, be it financial worries, overworking, relationship troubles or any other negative emotional pattern, it will be very difficult to make your health a priority.

So, you will want to include a routine form of physical activity that addresses your mind-body connection.

Find a neighbor or friend to be your workout partner. This will help make your commitment to exercise a mutually beneficial experience. Look online, interview a local health club and/or a trainer who will help move you to a new routine levels of healthy living , well-being and self-confidence, while adding years to your life.


The Wall Street Journal

Psych Central

New York Times