Why 90% of New Year's Resolutions Fail and What You Should Do Instead

personal development

Have you been able to keep your New Year's resolution so far? If not, you are not alone. 


Over 90% of people don’t keep their resolutions past February 14th.


According to a Forbes Health/OnePoll survey conducted in October of 2023, almost 62% of respondents say they feel pressured to set a New Year’s resolution. In addition, many respondents are planning on setting multiple goals with 66.5% stating they plan on making three or more resolutions for the year ahead.

Why aren’t we more successful at keeping our New Year’s resolutions?  

After reading numerous research I’ve identified 3 reasons why people fail at NY’s resolutions. These 3 reasons are the ones that resonate the most with me and hopefully with you too.

REASON #1 - People set unrealistic expectations

To make a lasting change, you have to be uncomfortable for a long period of time and nobody likes to be uncomfortable.

People tend to set New Year’s resolutions that are really big, and they might be achievable, but they forget about breaking down their big goals into smaller, more achievable steps that are needed along the way.


REASON #2: People do not consider the 'why' behind their goals

 Why do you want to make those changes?

I’m going to quote Terri Bly, a licensed clinical psychologist:

Change is hard, and as a result, the pain of not changing has to be greater than the pain of changing for us to really… change.

We need to know our personal reasons behind our goals.

REASON #3: You may not be ready for change

In the study, Terry Bly points to the Stages of Change model as a way to understand the process people go through before they're psychologically ready to change. The Stages of Change model consists of the following stages:

  • Precontemplation: You’re starting to become aware that there may be something to change 
  • Contemplation: You’re thinking about making a change
  • Preparation: You start putting a plan together to make a change
  • Action: You make the change
  • Maintenance: You determine how to maintain the change. 


The people who achieve their New Year’s resolutions it’s because they are at the Action stage when they make their resolution.

On the other hand, people who make New Year's resolutions on a whim are unlikely to succeed because they have not put enough thought, preparation and planning before making their New Year’s resolutions and to sustain them.

I believe change is a gradual process, and expecting a radical transformation almost overnight can lead to frustration and burnout (and as a high-achiever, I know a lot about it). 


Breaking the cycle of failed resolutions


In my latest podcast episode, I discuss  a more mindful and sustainable approach to goal-setting and share a simple yet very effective 3-step process self-improvement strategies to help you make positive lasting changes without feeling overwhelmed. You can also directly download resources I've added to help you navigate through change. 


🎙️ Listen to Episode #81 on:

The website: 


Apple Podcasts: 


🔗Watch it on Youtube  


As always, your feedback is invaluable, and we can't wait to hear your thoughts on this transformative topic.


With your success in mind...Darine

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